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Fox, JVC Bow D-VHS With DTS Sound

13 Nov, 2003 By: Kurt Indvik

The folks behind the high-definition cassette format D-VHS now can have a sharper, brighter sound to go along with the format's equally bright and sharp picture.

It was announced this week that JVC has completed work on the D-VHS software authoring program to enable DTS sound as an option, along with Dolby Digital and MPEG Audio, which is a standard on all D-VHS titles.

In a demonstration of the new enhanced sound, JVC executives were joined by Fox Home Entertainment executives to unveil the first two D-VHS titles to be released Nov. 25 with DTS under the “D-Theater” line of D-VHS titles: X2 and Moulin Rouge. The D-VHS release of X2 is day and date with its DVD/VHS home video debut.

Attendees to the demo were shown samples of both DVD and D-VHS with Dolby in comparison to D-VHS running with DTS to highlight the noticeable difference in sound clarity and richness, as well as to show the full effect of a high-definition experience with D-VHS/DTS compared with current DVD technology.

“We are only going to bring out product in D-Theater if it meets the highest qualities in video and audio,” said Danny Kaye, SVP, business development, Fox Home Entertainment. He noted that both X2 and Moulin Rouge, with their high production values, were both ideal titles to include the DTS feature in their D-Theater debuts. “You just can't go back into your library and pull out anything.”

Fox also is bringing out on D-VHS League of Extraordinary Gentlemen on Dec. 16, (day and date with that title's home video debut), along with True Lies and Speed. These titles, also, will include the DTS option, which is encoded at a bit rate of 1509 kbps, as compared to Dolby Digital, which is encoded at 576 kbps.

That brings Fox's D-VHS lineup to 22 titles since the format was launched in January 2002. There will be more than 65 titles in the D-VHS format by year's end. Universal, DreamWorks and Artisan also have released titles in D-VHS.

Arguably seen as a here-now high-definition bridge technology for videophiles until the emergence of market-ready HD-DVD, nevertheless, executives call D-VHS the best opportunity for studios to release select titles in the highest-quality high-definition video and sound to the home entertainment market and, more importantly for them, in a format that has stringent copy-protection safeguards.

“There is no way the high-definition world is going to feature the first-run content of studios unless it's secure,” Kaye said. “That standard of protection is being met, and the video and audio quality of D-Theater are setting the standards for any other high-definition format that may come along later.”

JVC has two D-VHS model player/recorders, the most recent 40,000 model released in August is DTS enabled. Marantz also has a new D-VHS console, according to executives at the demo. JVC's D-VHS player/recorders are priced at about $799. Total sales of D-VHS players to date are about 30,000 units, according to JVC.

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