Can you tell a Dolby from a DTS? When it comes to home theatre audio, a myriad of different surround sound options are available.

Here are some of the more common ones that you’re likely to encounter, and why they matter.

Dolby Atmos
Cinema-quality, object-based surround sound that includes height speakers to create an immersive 3D soundscape

Dolby Atmos

Dolby Digital
Digital audio coding that reduces the amount of data required to produce high quality sound (also known as AC-3)

Dolby Digital EX
Adds an extra rear surround channel to create a 6.1 system

Dolby Digital Plus
Supports up to 15 channels of audio and greater bitrates

Dolby Surround
An algorithm that upmixes a stereo or surround soundtrack to match a room’s speaker configuration

Dolby TrueHD
Multi-channel format that delivers uncompressed audio


Audio encoded at a high bitrate for better quality audio reproduction

Extended Surround format that adds an extra channel for spatial effects

DTS-HD Master Audio
Multi-channel format that uses lossless compression to deliver the original studio soundtrack

Multi-directional object-based format that works with standard surround speakers and supports up to 11 channels