Dolby Digital is the name for audio compression technologies developed by Dolby Laboratories. It was originally named Dolby Stereo Digital until 1994. Except for Dolby TrueHD, the audio compression is lossy. The first use of Dolby Digital was to provide digital sound in cinemas from 35mm film prints. It is now also used for other applications such as TV broadcast, radio broadcast via satellite, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and game consoles.
Dolby Digital has similar technologies, included in Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital Live, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Digital Recording, Dolby Digital Cinema, Dolby Digital Stereo Creator and Dolby Digital 5.1 Creator.
The data layout of AC-3 is described by simplified "C-like" language in official specifications. An AC-3 stream is a series of frames; The frame size code is used along with the sample rate code to determine the number of (2-byte) words before the next syncword. Channel blocks can be either long, in which case the entire block is processed as single modified discrete cosine transform or short, in which case two half length transforms are performed on the block.