Article ID : 00025144 / Last Modified : 11/07/2012

What is the difference between Pulse-Code Modulation (PCM) and Dolby Digital® technology?

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Pulse-Code Modulation (PCM) and the Dolby Digital® technology refer to different types of digital audio recordings. PCM is the conventional method for converting analog audio into digital audio. The PCM audio recorded on DVD is a two-channel digital, stereo audio track.

The Dolby Digital® technology, which was originally called AC3, was developed specifically for multi-channel applications, including film sound and digital surround sound in the home. Dolby Digital® technology uses a 5.1 or six channel format. The 5 channels include the Stereo left and right front channels, Stereo left and right surround channels, and the center channel. There is also, a Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel for the subwoofer, which is counted as the 0.1 channel since it functions only when a deep base effect is needed.