Dolby AC-4

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dolby AC-4 is an audio compression technology developed by Dolby Laboratories.[1] Dolby AC-4 bitstreams can contain audio channels and/or audio objects.[1] Dolby AC-4 has been adopted by the DVB project and standardized by the ETSI.[2]


Its development started in late 2011 to create a high-quality audio format that had a certain resemblance to Dolby TrueHD destined for multiple uses, to be used in streaming services, future TV broadcasts, and mainly to replace the traditional Dolby AC-3.[citation needed] AC-4 was standardized by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) under the code "TS 103 190" in April 2014,[1] and in December 2014 Dolby Laboratories approved the sound format for commercial use.[citation needed]

On March 10, 2015, the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) announced that Dolby AC-4 was one of the three standards proposed for the audio system of ATSC 3.0.[3]

On July 14, 2015, Dolby Laboratories announced that Sony Visual Products and Vizio would support Dolby AC-4.[4]

On April 14, 2016, Dolby Laboratories announced that Samsung would ship TVs with support for Dolby AC-4 in 2017.[5]

Technical details[edit]

Dolby AC-4 can have up to 5.1 core audio channels which all Dolby AC-4 decoders are required to decode.[1] Additional audio channels may be encoded as side signals which Dolby AC-4 decoders can optionally support which would allow for the delivery of 7.1.4 channel audio.[1] Side signals may also contain audio objects.[1] Dolby AC-4 has two different channel based encoding tools with Advanced Joint Channel Coding (A-JCC) used for low bit rates and Advanced Coupling (A-CPL) used for high bit rates.[1] A-JCC doesn't support side signals and is limited to 5.1 channel audio while A-CPL does support side signals.[1] Dolby AC-4 supports up to 7 audio objects with a core decoder and can optionally support additional audio objects with a more advanced decoder.[1] The use of different decoders allows Dolby AC-4 to support lower cost devices while also allowing for more advanced decoders for AV receivers.[1]

AC-4 uses an improved modified discrete cosine transform (MDCT) audio coding algorithm.[6] Dolby states that Dolby AC-4 provides a 50% reduction in bit rate over Dolby Digital Plus.[1] When Dolby AC-4 was tested by the DVB the MUSHRA score was 90 at 192 kbit/s for 5.1 channel audio.[1] When tested for ATSC 3.0 the bit rates needed for the required audio score was 96 kbit/s for stereo audio, 192 kbit/s for 5.1 channel audio, and 288 kbit/s for 7.1.4 channel audio.[1] However, for 22.2 channel audio, the required bit rate may be as high as 1536 kbit/s.[7]

Dolby AC-4 is extensible and audio substreams allow for new features to be added to Dolby AC-4 while maintaining compatibility with older decoders.[1]

Patent licensing[edit]

Dolby AC-4 is covered by patents and requires a license from Dolby Laboratories.[8] Dolby AC-4 has a consumer royalty rate of US$0.15 to US$1.20 depending on the type of device and volume of sales.[8] Dolby only charges for one technology per device, which means that Dolby AC-4 effectively costs nothing in devices that include existing Dolby technologies such as Dolby Digital Plus.[8] The professional royalty rate is up to US$50 for an eight channel transcoder.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Dolby AC-4: Audio Delivery for Next-Generation Entertainment Services" (PDF). Dolby Laboratories. 2015-06-01. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-04. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  2. ^ John Archer (2015-09-14). "How Dolby Plans To Revolutionize The Sound On Your Tablet, Smartphone And TV". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  3. ^ "Advanced Television Systems Committee Begins Review of ATSC 3.0 Audio System Proposals". Advanced Television Systems Committee. 2015-03-10. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  4. ^ "VIZIO and Sony Visual Products Adopt Dolby AC-4". Business Wire. 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  5. ^ "Dolby Announces Samsung Commitment to Bring Dolby AC-4 Enabled Televisions to Market". Business Wire. 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  6. ^ "Dolby AC-4: Audio Delivery for Next-Generation Entertainment Services" (PDF). Dolby Laboratories. June 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  7. ^!!PDF-E.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  8. ^ a b c d Giles Baker (2018-04-11). "Setting the record straight on Dolby AC-4 and MPEG-H". Dolby Laboratories. Retrieved 2019-11-05.

External links[edit]