Guide: Playing DTS Audio on VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player offers users a range of multimedia playback solutions with ease and precision. However, there are limitations on supported functions and multimedia formats. In this guide, we will walk you through playing DTS audio files on VLC Media Player.

Understanding DTS Audio and Downloading the DTS Decoder

DTS (Digital Theater Systems) audio tracks use a 5.1-channel standard for encoding. DTS provides higher audio quality compared to other formats like Dolby Digital (AC3). DTS stands for “Digital Theatre System” and is a distinct digital cinema audio system. Unlike other systems like Dolby Digital, DTS is typically 5.1 or 7.1 channel lossy encoded audio created by Digital Theater Systems.

To enable DTS audio playback on VLC, you’ll need the VLC DTS codec or plugin, often referred to as a DTS filter decoder. The recommended filter is AC3Filter, an open-source AC3 decoding filter that supports AC3 and DTS surround audio.

Follow these steps to set up DTS playback:

  1. Download and Install AC3Filter:
    • Download AC3Filter and follow the on-screen instructions for installation.
  2. Extract and Configure AC3Filter:
    • Extract the downloaded AC3Filter folder.
    • Open the AC3Filter decoder from the “Start” menu: “Start” >> “All Programs” >> “AC3Filter” >> “AC3 Filter Config” >> “System”.
    • Ensure that “DTS” is selected in the configuration panel to enable DTS audio detection and playback.
  3. Activate the Update:
    • Open the “Start” menu, select “Run,” then type “regsvr32 filename.dll” or “regsvr32” and click “Run” to activate the update.


Adjusting VLC Settings for DTS Playback

Downloading the DTS decoder doesn’t automatically enable DTS audio playback. You need to adjust VLC’s settings to accommodate DTS. Here’s how:

  1. Open VLC Preferences:
    • Launch VLC Media Player and click “Media” >> “Preferences.”
    • Scroll down and under the “Show settings” section, choose “All” for advanced settings.
  2. Select Audio Output Module:
    • In the advanced preferences, navigate to “Audio” >> “Output modules.”
    • Choose “DirectX” under the “Output Module” section.
  3. Configure Output Device:
    • Select a compatible output device that supports DTS audio, such as “5.1” under “Speaker Configuration.”
  4. Save and Apply:
    • Save the preferences settings and restart VLC Media Player.
    • Consider updating your Windows OS for changes to take effect.

DTS Playback Considerations

DTS audio offers impressive 5.1 channel audio, particularly when used with home theater systems. However, using VLC Media Player for DTS audio playback has some limitations:

  1. Stuttering Issues:
    • VLC Media Player might struggle with smooth DTS audio playback due to hardware and sound card requirements. DTS is more commonly used in home theater or cinema setups.
  2. Complex Playback Process:
    • Compared to formats like AAC or MP3, playing DTS audio on VLC requires additional decoders and installation steps, which can be time-consuming.
  3. Space Consumption:
    • DTS audio files tend to occupy more storage space, approximately three times that of Dolby audio files and other common formats. For home use, you might consider alternatives to DTS.

In conclusion, while VLC Media Player can play DTS audio, it’s important to be aware of the potential challenges and limitations associated with using this format in the player.


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