Dolby Digital audio files used on DVDs
AC3 is a file extension for surround sound audio files used on DVDs format. The AC3 file format was created by Dolby Labs for use in a Dolby Digital audio on DVD, Blu-ray and other digital video formats. AC3 stands for Audio Coding 3.
AC3 increases fidelity over its previous surround sound standard, Pro-logic, with independent tracks for each of the 6 speakers, a 16bit sampling at 48khz rate compressed by 10- 12 times, making for a total bit rate of 384kbps.
To reproduce to the full surround sound signal on an AC3 file requires a supported playback device such as DVD player connected to a Dolby Digital-supporting home theater amplifier. It is more common in computer audio for sound cards to interpret AC3 and put out a PCM stream; however some cards can output a Dolby Digital or DTS stream that may be used on with a home theater amplifier.
MIME type: audio/ac3
Learn more about AC3 files:
Search for answers to AC3-related questions at IT Knowledge Exchange.
See our Fast Guide to CD/DVD.
We've put together an introduction to audio.
Visit the Dolby Labs guide on Understanding Dolby Digital.