France 2 HD, TNT Embrace Dolby Digital Plus

By Kevin Hilton

French high-definition digital terrestrial platform TNT, which includes sports coverage through France 2 HD, has moved to Dolby Digital Plus as exclusive audio-coding system on its R5 multiplex.

TNT became the first large-scale HD DTT service when it went on-air last November and has been using a combined Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus stream. Now audio for one of its multiplexes is solely in the latter format.

TF1 HD, France 2 HD, and M6 HD are carried on R5 and have been running in Dolby Digital Plus since the beginning of this month.

Channels on other TNT multiplexes, including ARTE HD and Canal+ HD, are members of the French HD Forum. Capability for Dolby Digital Plus is built into receivers, but when other services will move to the technology has yet to be confirmed.

“For the launch of HD digital terrestrial TV [DTT], the channels using the R5 multiplex selected Dolby Digital Plus for broadcasting the audio streams,” says Frederic Tapissier, president of the technical committee of the French HD Forum and coordinator of TF1’s HD DTT launch. “However, because some of the existing HD receivers were not fully compatible, we initially opted for a combination of Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus. As the remaining receivers have now been updated, we are happy to use the same Dolby Digital Plus format for all the audio streams. This is the opportunity to free up bandwidth and improve video quality, which is critical as we rapidly ramp up our native HD programmes.”

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