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HDTV Sound Systems: How Many Channels?

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The application of a sound system to accompany HDTV will range from multichannel cinematic productions to much simpler domestic uses, and the number of sound channels proposed for narrow-band or wide-band HDTV transmission systems range from four to ten. Thus, CCIR Task Group 10/1 (multichannel sound systems) envisage a hierarchy of loudspeaker arrangements offering graded performances in a compatible way: one or two additional centre loudspeakers and two or four additional surround loudspeakers complete the basic left and right stereo loudspeakers, leading to a concept permitting graded directional stability of the front image and graded realism of auditory ambience. The concept is discussed particularly with regard to applications in the home environment. It is concluded that at least three front channels and two surround channels (3/2 configuration) are desirable for domestic use in the future, including audio-only applications. The number of sound channels in HDTV systems should be six or more for providing multi-lingual capability.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society