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Do all videos use Dolby Digital (AC-3)? Do they all have 5.1 channels?

Most DVD-Video discs contain Dolby Digital soundtracks. However, it’s not required. Some discs, especially those containing only audio, have PCM tracks. It’s possible –but rare– for a 625/50 (PAL) disc to contain only MPEG audio. Discs with DTS audio are required to also include a Dolby Digital audio track (in a few rare cases they have a PCM track).

Don’t assume that the Dolby Digital label is a guarantee of 5.1 channels. A Dolby Digital soundtrack can be mono, dual mono, stereo, Dolby Surround stereo, etc. For example, Blazing Saddles and Caddyshack have monophonic soundtracks, so the Dolby Digital soundtrack on these DVDs has only one channel. Some DVD packaging has small lettering or icons under the Dolby Digital logo that indicates the channel configuration. In some cases, there is more than one Dolby Digital version of a soundtrack: a 5.1-channel track and a track specially remixed for stereo Dolby Surround. It’s perfectly normal for your DVD player to indicate playback of a Dolby Digital audio track while your receiver indicates Dolby Surround. This means the disc contains a two-channel Dolby Surround signal encoded in Dolby Digital format.

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