Help a 'tardo out......

I used to know audio/video inside out 7 years ago when I worked in that market, but now, I don't follow as close. Simple question; a DVD player that features (and is tagged all over) DTS or whatever, will this machine have a decoder built in or is it that all it does it sends a digital signal to your surround processor? Hep me! Hep me!


The DVD must have at least a Dolby Digital and DTS decoder.
Even the cheapest ones come with one built in.

Of course, the quality of the processing is much better done with A/V Receivers.

If you don't have a receiver, just plug the DVD to your TV and everything will be fine.

Foxtrot is right. It should have a decoder built in.

When i bought my first DVD player back in 1997 it had no on-board decoder, in fact, my reciever did not either, i had to buy an AC-3 decoder to get DD5.1

My second DVD player was the same way. That one later got cooked by sitting on top of my reciever (stupid me) and my third one was the first one with the decoder built in.

Nowadays almost every DVD player has a built in decoder, unless you go with one of those 59.95 DVD players from Walmart, i dont think they do.

But i guess if all you can afford or all you care to spend is less than 60 bucks, then you probably wont have a surround setup anyways.

So basically, yes. Except for the crappiest of the crappy, all dvd players have at LEAST 5.1dd decoder built in, any Moderatly priced DVD will have DTS as well.

Like foxtrot pointed out though, chances are your reciever does a better job decoding it than your DVD player.

Its also alot cheaper to buy 1 high quality COAX than 6 Moderate quality cables to run into the 5.1 inputs.
Still a little fuzzy in my (aging) brain... Do some (or most) DVD players (yeah.. forget the 10$ specials, we're talking higher end) have a built in decoder that you may be able to hook it up to 3-4-5 amps and away you go? Or do you still need to feed it to a, uh let's say a Lexicon DC1, to be able to play back?

You would have to use a PreAmp and by-pass it...

But I would greatly suggest to get a receiver and if you wish so, you can always use it's pre outs to get the power from external power amps. The decoding on the receiver is considerably better than the one made by the DVD.

Umm, I'm going to disagree a little bit with Foxtrot and Slappy (no offense, guys!). While many DVD players have built-in decoding for DD and/or DTS, many do not. It has become a fairly common feature on DVD players which also provide DVD-A and SACD playback (i.e. "universal" players). However, I checked the list of DVD players that Crutchfield currently sells (a pretty good variety of popular makes/models) and less than half provide built-in decoders.

The Dolby Digital/DTS logo on the player does not guarantee the decoder is built in. It may only pass the signal digitally for external decoding/processing. The best way to tell if the player has built-in decoding is to check 'round back for the "5.1" analog outputs. There will be six standard RCA jacks labelled "sub", "center", "front left" yadda yadda.. Or bring up the players's setup menu or check the owner's manual.

Keep in mind any player will be able to play at least one of the (several) soundtrack options encoded on the DVD. However, you will have to decode the DD/DTS soundtrack at some point if you want to enjoy discrete multichannel sound. Make sure you have the right connections on your preamp/receiver to take advantage of a built-in decoder - it is useless for discrete multichannel playback if your receiver/preamp lacks a set of proper 5.1 analog inputs. Otherwise, just use the stereo analog outs to your tv or stereo to get basic stereo sound (or even Pro Logic) as suggested above. -JZ

..Regarding the quality of decoding for DD/DTS.. Yes, you could generalize that the decoder chipset in the typical A/V receiver or pre/pro is often better sonically (or more flexible) than that found in many mass-market players, but there will be exceptions as you look into better-quality players. For example, I'd put the decoder built into the Arcam FMJ DV-27A player against any Asian receiver up to ~$3-4k (Denon, Pioneer, etc.) any day. $.02
Hey guys;I could be wrong but I thought the 5.1 outputs on the back of a dvd machine were for dvd-a or sacd music.(Some read 1 or the other/some both) Movie soundtracts sound much better with the digital out going into a processor or rec. If I'm wrong I expect I'll be told. Then it is up to your processor to read dts--if its a menu selection from the disc.

Yeah the 5.1 outputs are standard for DVD-A (not sure aboud SACD, i think there are some SACD players that only do 2 ch)

With my old reciever it diddnt have an onboard decoder. I had to buy an outboard decoder, then later on i got a DVD player that had an internal decoder and it had the 5.1 outputs which i jacked directly to the reciever.

As far as i know, if the DVD player has 5.1 outputs it does have a decoder, may or may not have SACD/DVD-a capability
AVG - Yes, if the player is DVD-A and/or SACD compatible, the 5.1 analog outs do carry the multichannel audio for DVD-A and SACD to your preamp/receiver, but they also pull double-duty for outputting decoded DD/DTS movie soundtracks if you choose that option. If your receiver/processor will decode DD/DTS, you may prefer to connect the digital out from the player for decoding movie soundtracks and use the 5.1 analog outs only for DVD-A/SACD music playback.

In my case, my receiver will only decode Pro-Logic, so I let my player (standard DVD video) handle the decoding for DD. (No DTS, DVD-A or SACD,though). I have an upgrade path, however, if I replace the player to a universal unit I will be able to pass any decoded 5.1 source through the receiver (DD/DTS, DVD-A, and SACD).

Slappy - DVD-A is still a relatively new format and is not generally referred to as "standard DVD". Standard DVD still refers to the DVD video format in most cases.

Homer - It's fairly rare to find a player that you can plug straight into a power amp. In most cases you will need a preamp stage to control volume, etc. An exeption would be something like the Meridian 800 series reference player, (and there may be others), but that player is designed to work best with active speakers like their own DSP series of active speakers so the volume is controlled digitally in that player. This is a very expensive option, however.

Hope this helps! JZ
Slappy - Oops! Mis-read your line about DVD-A above. You were referring to the standard feature found on any DVD-A player, not the format itself. Sincerest apologies! - JZ
No problem buddy!