The application of AC-3 to the cinema is therefore a straightforward matter of solving a single set of problems. Applying AC-3 to domestic media is a totally different matter. It would be nice if at a stroke all current home entertainment systems could be deactivated, necessitating replacement with the latest and best systems that technology can offer. Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to happen. Relatively few enthusiasts have a full 5.1 channel home cinema installation. Rather more are content with their existing Dolby Surround and Pro Logic equipment. Most of us however settle for old fashioned two channel stereo or even , in the most die-hard of cases, glorious mono! Any digital encoding system would have to cater for all of these options. Even if a home cinema enthusiast has equipped himself with a splendid array of loudspeakers, are they all going to be identical - as ideally they should be - or will the surround speakers be smaller? Will the centre speaker be smaller to fit under or above the TV? Will there be a subwoofer, or are the other speakers expected to handle the low frequency component of the sound track? Take another case - a would-be home cinema owner is building up his system incrementally, starting with a DVD player perhaps. He doesn’t want to buy any additional equipment at this stage so he plays it through the RF (aerial) input of his TV. Not only is it mono, but it is mono that is modulated onto an RF carrier, and demodulated in the set. How is a signal best heard in 5.1 format going to withstand this kind of treatment? Add another scenario - a late night listener who doesn’t want to annoy his neighbours with excessively loud action sequences played at a level that makes best use of the available dynamic range. If he turns the level down, he won’t be able to hear the quiet bits. And what about that age-old problem - you set the sound to an appropriate level to watch a feature film and hear the dialogue easily - then on comes a commercial and people can hear it all the way down the street? These are all real and significant problems that are not encountered in the cinema. Basic AC-3 therefore has to be extended to cope.Come on the FREE COURSE TOUR
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