Dolby Digital and DTS are the two competing surround sound technologies. DTS content is encoded at a higher bit rate than Dolby Digital for more accurate reproduction. However, Dolby claims to have a more efficient decoding system while using less transmission bandwidth and less storage.
This guide’s intention is to give a baseline expectation of what you can expect from each technology and how they perform under different configurations. It’s not meant to set the winner as the topic for which is better can get heated.
Before looking at what you can expect from each technology, you need a basic understanding of encoding and decoding and how they relate to DTS and Dolby technology formats.
Encoding vs Decoding DTS & Dolby
Encoding is the sampling and compression of raw PCM or LPCM data to use less storage and transmission bandwidth on media such as Blu-ray, streaming, TV broadcast, and so on. Meanwhile, decoding does the inverse and tries to reconstruct the compressed signals to match as closely as possible with the source PCM or LPCM with little loss in audio quality.
The parameters for encoding and decoding are specified by the specific algorithm/codec with the assistance of metadata parameters specified during production to aid in finer control over the audio playback.
DTS and Dolby use different compression technologies and operate and different bit rate as you will see as you read through this guide.
The first two generations of DTS codecs were designed primarily for Channel Based Audio (CBA). A primary advantage of CBA is a relatively light metadata burden, as a stream is constrained to a very limited number of playback options.
Dolby audio formats are more aggressively compressed and thus use less storage and bandwidth.
- DTS Digital Surround: This is a lossy 5.1 channel compression system (codec) with a data rate of 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second). Lossy surround sound with lesser compression than Dolby Digital, 5.1, Blu-ray disc, console gaming, and DVD. Coherent acoustic codec with extensions for ES and 96/24.
- DTS-HD High Resolution: This is another lossy compression system with a higher bitrate of 6 Mbps and can support up to 7.1 audio channels. It is supported by platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Video. DTS-HD High-Resolution format with 7.1 speaker channel support for HD surround sound systems.
- DTS-HD Master Audio– This is a lossless system with a bitrate (bandwidth) of 24.4 Mbps for support of up to 7.1 audio channels. You can find them on higher storage and bandwidth media such as Blu-rays. High bitrate lossless surround with 2 extra rear channels, 7.1, Blu-ray. coherent acoustic plus HD bit for bit extensions. 96 kHz for 6.1 or 7.1 surround. A DTS-HD MA bitstream may have a bitrate no greater than 24.5 Mbps
- DTS:X– High bitrate, object-based, lossless surrounds with height channels, 9.2, 7.1.4, Blu-rays. is a direct rival to Dolby Atmos
For Dolby Labs;
- Pro Logic–
- Dolby Digital: This is a lossy 5.1 channel audio compression system that operated at a max bitrate of 640 Kbps for Blu-rays, gaming consoles, DVD, and TV broadcasts
- Dolby Digital Plus: DD+ is a lossy format that builds upon the Dolby Digital codec for an increased bitrate of 1.7 Mbps and for support of up to 7.1 audio channels. It is supported by streaming services such as Netflix, HBO, and Amazon Prime for multi-channel audio.
- Dolby TrueHD: This is a lossless audio compression system that aims to replicate the quality of the master bit perfectly with a max bitrate of 18 Mbps and can support up to 7.1 audio channels. It can be found on media such as Blu-rays.
- Dolby Atmos is an object-based format encoded as Dolby Digital Plus (lossy Atmos) or Dolby True HD (lossless Atmos) codecs. Object-based surround with height channels. 7.1.4. Streaming content, Blu-ray disc, and PC.
Lossy codecs discard irrelevant audio data from the original LPCM data to produce a much smaller file size that is almost identical to the master. Lossless codecs compress the LPCM data without loss in quality.
Dolby VS DTS: Comparison table
|Features both lossy and lossless compression
|Features both lossy and lossless compression
Dolny Audio files are more compressed
|DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution
|Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus
|DTS-HD Master Audio
|Dolby True HD
Native and virtual DTS-X
Native and virtual Dolby Atmos
|Outputs PCM for stereo and linear PCM (LPCM) for surround sound after decoding
|Outputs PCM for stereo and linear PCM (LPCM) for surround sound after decoding
|Uses a core + extension system for backward compatibility with legacy gear
|Includes a separate Dolby Digital substream for backward compatibility
|Can be found on HD DVDs, Blu-rays, games, and streaming services
Not supported for live-streamed content due to the higher bandwidth requirements
|Found on HD DVDs, Blu-rays, games, live broadcasts such as event streaming, games, and streaming services
As an audio innovator, Dolby Labs has had a long history in cinema and multi-channel audio. Dolby has been a market leader and is synonymous with surround sound,
Dolby also includes a number of container formats such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Surround, and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization.
1. Dolby Prologic
Previously employed as Dolby Surround for VHS and TV and Dolby Stereo for film in the 80s, pro logic is an analog system that allowed the extraction of the front center and back surround channel (CS) from the left and right channels(LR) for playback on 4 speakers (LCRS). CS is matrixed in the LR from which it’s unpacked.
Can be transmitted using analog RCA cables.
Pro Logic II (PLII)
PLII was an improvement to Prologic that allowed the extraction of 5 speaker outputs from a stereo Dolby Surround source instead of 4 for an increased sense of realism.
The 2 surround channels are derived from the surround channel (S in LCRS) and create 2 similar mono outputs
Was first used in consumer products in 2000 in products such as AVRs, Soundbars, gaming consoles, and multi-channel car systems that featured a Pro Logic II logo.
Pro Logic IIx (PLIIx)
PLIIx derives 7 or 6 speaker outputs from a 2-channel Dolby Surround or 5.1 DD source. Add 1 or 2 back surround channels to 5.1 depending on whether you use a 6.1 or 7.1 speaker configuration
Pro Logic IIz (PLIIz)
Pro Logic IIz expands a 7.1 or 5.1 source for 9.1 channel playback. It includes 2 height channels for the overhead sounds for a greater sense of depth by placing sounds above your head.
2. Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital (DD) previously known as Dolby AC-3 is the successor to Dolby Pro-Logic.
It’s a lossy multichannel system based on the AC-3 codec (audio compression 3) that supports up to 1.0 to 5.1 discrete audio channels at a maximum bitrate of 640 Kbps, a max sampling rate of 48 kHz at a 16-bit resolution (up to 96 dB of dynamic range).
Dolby Digital content can be unpacked (decoded) by any device integrated with an AC-3 decoder. For less than 5.1 channel speakers, the audio program is downmix to stereo (2 speakers) or mono (one speaker channel).
Decoding can be done at the source to obtain LPCM (5.1) or PCM (2.0) stream if the sound output is set to PCM/LPCM that can be transmitted to a processor such as an AVR using an Optical or HDMI connection.
Dolby Digital EX
Dolby Digitel EX is based on the AC-3 coding system and carries a matrixed center back surround channel in the 5.1 core to complement the left and right surround channels for 6.1 or 7.1 playbacks.
The additional channel is recorded in the surround channels at -3dB and 90 degrees out of phase. During decoding the phase-shifted audio is extracted and combined for a back surround output. Once summed the channel’s output increases by 3dB (hence the 3dB reduction during encoding. The extracted audio is reproduced by one or 2 rear surround speakers depending on the configuration.
In a 5.1 system, the center-surround matrixed in the side surround creates a phantom back surround channel.
Dolby Digital EX programs automatically activate EX decoding on a compatible system.
3. Dolby Digital Plus
Will require HDMI 1.4 or higher
The Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) is a lossy/compressed but more efficient encoding system built upon the standard AC-3 codec for Enhanced AC-3 (E-AC-3) that handles higher bitrates of up to 6 Mbps. DD+ was developed as a more efficient codec for bandwidth-critical broadcast and streaming programs.
The Dolby Digital Plus bitstream is constructed as a hybrid of a 5.1 Dolby Digital core followed by the Dolby Digital + stream extension for additional channels of up to 7.1 channels on Blu-rays. The extension carries separate data for side and rear surrounds (4 surround channels) for 7.1 playback. The extension surround data is unpacked and combined with the front left, center, and right channel data from the 5.1 core for 7.1 playback. The side surrounds from the 5.1 core are then downmixed to the front left and right channels to ensure no information is lost.
Using a DD+ decoder on a 5.1 speaker configuration downmixes the side and rear surround data into the 5.1 core to maintain all information. The DD+ can also be downmixed for stereo or mono speaker playback.
DD+ should be able to handle up to 16 discrete channels (15.1) for future expansion.
It uses a constant bitrate (CBR) of 1.5 Mbps, 4.5 Mbps, or 6.144 Mbps depending on the media bandwidth.
The core 5.1 stream is delivered for devices that cannot handle the Dolby Digital Plus stream and ensure compatibility with legacy DD gear.
You will need HDMI 1.3 or higher to pass Dolby Digital plus bitstreams. When an optical connection is used, only the AC-3 track will be available. Any HDMI version can be used for the connection if the output is set to PCM or 5.1 LPCM.
The E-AC-3 codec can be used for encoding lossy Atmos content.
4. Dolby TrueHD
Dolby TrueHD is a lossless format based on the Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) compression algorithm with a max bitrate of 18 Mbps and supports a total of 8 discrete channels at a 96 kHz sampling rate and a 24-bit resolution or 6 channels at 192 kHz/24-bit on Blu-rays. However, it can support up to 16 audio channels at a 48 kHz sampling frequency. The Dolby TrueHD standard can reach an uncompressed max bit rate of 63 Mbps with 18 Mbps being the maximum supported on Blu-ray.
Dolby TrueHD uses a variable Bit-rate system as it is lossless. The bitrate can increase or decrease to match the source audio data. It is bit-to-bit identical with the studio master and hence requires more bandwidth hence the higher bitrate numbers. The decoder has more data to work with for higher fidelity and more dynamic range.
4:1 compression efficiency of the original LPCM signals without loss in quality to save on storage.
The maximum bandwidth is seldom reached during encoding or playback.
Dolby TrueHD programs are required to have a separate Dolby Digital for backward compatibility in case the system is not fully compliant with the TrueHD standards.
Dolby TrueHD is optional on Blu-rays and other media and can carry lossless Atmos content.
Dolby TrueHD bitstreams will require an HDMI 1.3 connection or higher for transmission from a source to the processor such as an AVR. A Dolby TrueHD receiver will automatically detect Dolby TrueHD bitstreams for decoding and processing.
5. Dolby Atmos
Dolby Atmos is an object-based audio format that can be encoded using the Dolby Digital Plus (lossy Atmos) or Dolby TrueHD (lossless Atmos) compression scheme. Dolby Atmos adds the height elements to the bed channels to envelop the listener in a 3D sound bubble.
Dolby Atmos can support up to 128 simultaneous audio objects.
Audio objects are audio elements with associated metadata that defines how it is rendered in one or more audio channels.
Objects are not confined to a specific location in the mix but can instead be manipulated to move in 3D space by the audio mixer for accurate representation during playback on your specific speaker setup making it easier to localize the moving objects. Atmos can adapt to your specific speaker configuration as the audio objects are flexible.
Dolby Atmos will require the addition of overhead/height speakers to playback overhead effects such as a flying chopper or birds. It can be used on up to 35 speakers location (24-bed, 10 height, and one LFE channel)
HDMI 1.4 or higher
Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization is a Dolby surround sound processing mode aimed at creating a virtual 3D Dolby Atmos effect without overhead speakers in a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound configuration.
This is done by height cue filters fitted in the decoder
Dolby Surround is an up-mixing technology that takes a standard 5.1 or 7.1 program and intelligently adds the height effects for playback over an Atmos system without needing Atmos content. This will depend on the number of height, in-ceiling, or up-firing speakers available in your system.
Dolby Surround can also up-mix stereo tracks for playback on a surround sound speaker configuration.
It helps increase the sense of space as the surround channel reproduces the ambiance, the center speakers for the dialogue, and the front left and right channels for the main sounds to give a more natural feel to the sound with enhanced realism.
DTS (Digital Theater Systems) was started as a direct competitor to Dolby Labs. DTS has developed a series of multichannel audio solutions for home AV, video games, broadcast, streaming, Blu-rays, and other digital media. Being a household name DTS is supported by all major AV gear manufacturers.
DTS has invented codecs and formats such as DTS digital surround, DTS-ES, DTS Neo-6, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD high resolution, DTS-X, DTS-X pro, DTS Neural X, and DTS Virtual-X.
1. DTS Digital Surround
The DTS Digital surround is a lossy (constant bitrate/CBR) format that is compressed using the coherent acoustic coding system at a max sampling frequency and bit-depth of 48 kHz/24-bits for support of up to 5.1 channels at a maximum bitrate of 1.5 Mbps. The bit depth can vary between 16 and 24 bits. It was later expanded with extension data to store increased resolution data additional channel information and extended frequency response/higher sampling rates depending on the stream type.
It operates at the same bitrate all the time.
All current and legacy DTS decoders make use of the core DTS stream which is provided if the decoder fails to the decoder the extension data that needs a more advanced decoder
DTS can reach sampling rates of 48 kHz for 6.1 discrete and 96 kHz/24 but for 6.1 matrix and 5.1 discrete. The Bitrate can go as high as 1.5 Mbps on Blu-rays and 768 Kbps on DVDs. It was also used to encode DTS music CDs back in the day at 1234 Kbps.
DTS music CD soundtracks were compressed using the 5.1 compression algorithm at 44.1 kHz while some are encoded at 24 bit at 88.2 kHz for stereo. It had the capability of stereo and surround sound playback.
DTS is a mandatory audio format for both HD-DVD and Blu-ray (meaning that players must support the format, not that every disc must carry a DTS soundtrack)
DTS bitstream can be transmitted by Any HDMI cable, optical output
The Extension data will contain information on the DTS ES and DTS 96/24 formats.
DTS-ES or DTS Extended Surround adds a center-back surround channel to a 5.1 core.
It can either be DTS-ES discrete or DTS-ES matrix.
DTS- ES matrix
DTS 96/24 can support up to 6.1 matrixed channels.
An ES phase shift (90 degrees) is applied during encoding in the left and right surround channels. This allows a Cs (Center surround) channel to be matrixed to the left and right surround channels. A phase shift is applied to prevent phase cancellation after acoustic summation during playback is a 5.1 or stereo system.
DTS-ES Matrix adds a muxed/pseudo-center-surround channel. The channel is matrixed into the left and right surround.
This codec supports a matrixed Center surround (Cs) for matrixed 6.1 at a 96 kHz sampling frequency using the DTS 96/24 coding system and 48 kHz with DTS digital surround.
The center-surround channel is extracted from the left and right surrounds using the DTS Neo-6 decoding system to produce one or 2 identical mono channels.
This surround channel is usually played back 2 speakers as placing a center speaker behind you would be distracting if you are too close to the speaker.
When played back on a 5.1 speaker configuration, a phantom/virtual center-surround is produced.
DTS-ES Discrete adds a discrete center-surround channel to the 5.1 core for a total of 7 discrete channels and a 48 kHz sampling rate.
The back surround channel can be decoded to produce 2 similar mono signals for playback on 2 rear surround speakers (7.1 playback) to increase channel separation. These 2 mono channels are matrixed into one.
DTS-ES discrete provides better channel separation than DTS-ES matrix 6.1 and Dolby Digital EX as the audio in the left, right and center-surround is not identical due to the nature of lossy compression which does not allow for fully discrete channel separation. The center-surround in DTS-ES discrete have total separation.
DTS-ES discrete programs also contain matrixed audio content for backward compatibility with DTS-ES matrix decoders. The matrixed content is removed when an ES Discrete decoder is used by canceling out the matrixed audio in the left and right surrounds.
DTS 96/24 is a lossy stream type (container format) where the source content is split into the core+extension. The core is encoded 24/48 while the extension carried the payload for higher frequencies to reach 96 kHz. Additional information for the higher sample rates is carried not in the core, but in the extensions.
It is thus compatible with older DTS equipment in absence of a 96/24 decoding.
The extension contains the difference between the 96/24 payload and the 48 kHz core. The extension data is then interpolated to the core to obtain the 96 kHz/24-bit data.
Without a 96/24 decoder, you only get the 24-bit 48 kHz core.
The DTS 96/24 bitstreams is thus always at a constant bitrate of 1.5 Mbps
DTS-express (DTS-HD low bitrate/LBR)
DTS Express is a compressed audio format with a data rate ranging from 48 to 512 Kbps and supports up to 5.1 audio channels at 48 kHz/24 bit.
This format is mandatory in Blu-rays for stereo (2-channel) presentation of secondary audio support in Blu-rays and for streaming services audio content (though rare) as it is a low bitrate codec while maintaining listening quality for mono stereo or 5.1 surround playback. This codec allows streaming services to dynamically adjust the bitrate for streaming more or fewer data to compensate for bandwidth fluctuations.
DTS Express is based on DTS compression but is more compressed than DTS Digital surround for streaming. It is thus compatible with all DTS decoders.
It also provides up to 5.1 channels through an optical or HDMI output.
DTS Neo-6 is a decoding system that up-mixes a 2.1 or 5.1 channel program for playback on a 5.1 or 6.1 speaker system. It is similar to PLII/PLIIx.
DTS Neo:6 comes in two versions where one is optimized for music listeners and the other for watching movies in Music and Cinema respectively.
2. DTS HD
DTS HD is a compression technology developed by DTS.
It offers both lossy and lossless capability, higher data rates, higher sampling frequencies, DTS CA core for backward compatibility, secondary audio, and DTS-HD LBR extensions. This can be done at multiple bit depth (16, 20, and 24 bits) depending on the source material.
DTS High Definition is a family of codecs that adds extensions to the core specifically;
- DTS-HD High Resolution (lossy)– Has a constant bitrate. Up to 7.1 discrete channels with a sampling frequency of 96 kHz and 24 bits of signal resolution
- DTS-HD Master Audio (lossless)– Lossless Audio with variable data rates up to 24.5 Mbps for Blu-ray Disc. Uses variable bitrate. up to 192 kHz for DTS-HD Master Audi)• Up to 192 kHz sampling frequency and 24 bits of signal resolution for 2.0 channels
And since it includes the core 5.1 DTS digital track, it features 3 levels of performance that are DTS digital, DTS-HD high resolution, and DTS-HD master audio. Thus audio compressed using this coding system remains backward compatible with older DTS gear at up to 1.5 Mbps.
Contain DTS express or Secondary Audio for additional content such as commentaries. The secondary audio is encoded in standard DTS at up to 48 kHz/24-bit that needs to be disabled on a BD player to output HD bitstreams.
DTS-HD High Resolution
DTS-HD high resolution simply called DTS-HD HR is a lossy (constant bitrate rate) stream type as it operates at the same bitrate at all times. that encodes audio at up to 5.766 Mbps on Blu-rays and 3.018 Mbps on DVDs. It is capable of delivering 7.1 independent/discrete audio channels at a 96 kHz sampling rate and at a 24-bit resolution.
DTS-HD HR achieves compression ratios of around 3:1.
It is an alternative to DD+ in that it is a compressed digital format at a higher bitrate for up to 8 discrete channels. DTS-HD HR is encoded in the form of an extension to the core DTS data that remains available for legacy equipment. If your audio system is not compatible with the DTS HD bitstream, the DTS 5.1 channel is unpacked while the DTS-HD stream is ignored.
This format is optional on Blu-rays, DVDs, and other source media.
An HDMI 1.1 connection or higher is required for transmission of DTS-HD high-resolution bitstreams to a compatible decoder.
DTS-HD Master Audio (DTS-HD MA)
Formerly known as DTS++, DTS-HD Master Audio sometimes abbreviated as DTS-HD MA is a lossless (variable bitrate) codec that can carry up to 7.1 audio channels at 96 kHz sampling rate at a 24-bit resolution. It can also support 2 discrete channels at 192 kHz/24-bits on Blu-ray. 192 kHz/24 bit for 2-channel audio on DVDs
Support for DTS-HD MA is optional on both Blu-rays and HD DVDs but has become a de facto standard on Blu-rays and 4K Ultra-HD disks.
DTS-HD supports variable bits rates on a Blu-ray disc of up to 24.5 Mbps for lossless encoding and additional channels (up to 11.1). DTS-HD MA tracks are bit to bit identical to the studio master.
This multi-channel format competes with Dolby TrueHD, a lossless codec by Dolby Labs as seen above.
During encoding, the DTS-CA core (DTS Digital at 1.5 Mbps) is encoded first followed by a stream of supplementary data representing audio above 48 kHz that was discarded. Thus DTS-HD MA has a lossy core for backward compatibility and for playback on legacy DTS devices.
DTS-HD Master Audio requires an HDMI 1.3 or higher connection for transmission of the bitstreams. If an optical connection is used the standard DTS digital track is played.
DTS Express support. Neo 6 upmixing for 5.1 ch
DTS-UHD is the third-generation audio coding system developed by DTS. DTS-UHD supports both lossy and lossless audio compression
Lossless audio coding is always variable bit rate
DTS-UHD is a bitstream audio delivery system that supports channel-based, object-based, and high-order ambisonic audio presentations. The audio stream can be presented on a minimum speaker configuration.
High-order ambisonics are mathematical frameworks for handling 3D sound fields.
This audio system is comprised of compressed audio data and metadata components. Metadata includes parameters for loudness, dynamics, signaling content, and spatial coefficients for the rendering of DTS-X objects. The metadata also defines how the sound is diffused and which speaker should be silent and which one should have sound output.
However, the bed-channel metadata can override the object-based metadata.
In legacy DTS systems, the core 5.1 data is extracted while the additional data is ignored by the decoder.
Similar to Dolby Atmos, DTS-X is an object-based audio format that creates a sound hemisphere that envelops the listening. The first version supported 12 speaker positions but was improved to handle up to 32 speaker positions. It can support up to 224 objects and is mostly found on UHD Blu-rays.
The placement of the audio objects is specified by coefficients that dictate where the rendered objects will be placed in a 3D sound space. The placement data is contained in the metadata data packet that also contains playback parameters such as loudness, diffusion, and size of the objects.
However, unlike Atmos, DTS-X does not require overhead/height speakers it figures out the speaker layout and adapts to it scaling the height effects. That notwithstanding, it is useful to have overhead speakers for a more accurate presentation. The only requirement is that you place native DTS-X content and use a DTS-X processor. If the system is not compatible with DTS-X a DTS-HD MA or DTS digital core is presented instead.
DTS-X is layered upon the DTS-HD MA or DTS-UHD codec.
Will require HDMI 1.4 or higher
DTS-X pro is an object-based decoding/rendering system that can support up to 32 speaker positions and can be used to decode standard DTS-X content over more channels removing the 11.2 channel limitation.
DTS-X is flexible and can adapt to a variety of speaker layouts and is geared to work with IMAX-enhanced content. IMAX enhanced is a content certification format that provides the best video and audio quality for movies.
This is not a widely used system but can be sound on some AVRs such as Marantz and Denon receivers.
DTS Virtual:X is a spatial post-processing system that attempts to create a virtual 3D sound bubble with any speaker configuration (2.1, 3.1, 5.1, 7.1, and so on) for a believable spatial experience. It is similar to DTS-X but does not require the use of surround, height, or up-firing speakers as it uses psycho acoustic algorithms to crease virtual surrounds and height channels for increase width and height.
It creates believable phantom surround and height channels by translating PCM or DTS content (HD, 5.1, DTS-X…) content in any speaker system. This is done using tricks such as delays and signal level adjustments.
DTS Neural-X is a spatial upmixing technology that takes a mono, stereo, or surround sound (5.1 or 7.1) program for playback depending on the number of speakers. This is done with the idea of creating a 3D sound bubble by approximating the width and height of sound filed data of DTS-X.
Neural-X detects the number of speakers and pans the audio playback to the speakers. This can be done for up to 32 speakers depending on the processing capabilities and the number of outputs.
Most home AVR with Neural-X upmixing will support upmixing to a total of 11 speakers at most.
It can place sounds above (height speakers) and around (surround speakers) the listener with amazing accuracy from any DTS source.
It is equivalent to Dolby Surround Atmos and a replacement for DTS Neo-6
Dolby Digital vs DTS is a topic that is highly debated with a divide on which technology is better and which one can provide higher audio quality.
Many, especially audio nuts will claim that DTS is better because of the higher encoding bit rate during compression while others, especially most average home theater users will find Dolby to be much better because of the superior audio processing for better dynamic range.
However, I cannot give a conclusion on which one is better for you based on the compression and processing numbers alone.
There are many things to consider when deciding between the two including what kind of speaker layout you have and personal preference because how we hear and perceive sound is very subjective.
most AVR brands now offer a complete range of Dolby, DTS, and brand-based proprietary decoding and up-mixing capabilities.