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Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP)

An audio encoding scheme using technology developed by Meridian Audio that is the industry-accepted standard for compressing audio data on DVD-Audio disks for transfer and decoding by a DVD-A player. MLP is a “lossless” compression codec.

DVD-Audio can play back surround sound audio (in 5.1 format) at 24-bit/96kHz resolution. However, DVDs have a maximum data transfer rate of 9.6MB/second. So a 5.1 surround track at 24-bit/96kHz, which requires a data transfer rate of about 13.8MB/second, would get bogged down unless it is compressed. MLP uses a complex combination of filters, entropy coding, prediction and buffers to compress (encode) that signal so it can be transferred at the 9.6MB/second rate, and then decode (uncompress) it for playback by a DVD player. The MLP process also reduces the size of audio files by 30 to 50%, thus allowing a full 74 minutes of surround audio to fit on a DVD-A.

The DVD Forum, the industry group that sets standards for all types of DVD production, selected Meridian Lossless Packing as the specified standard for audio compression on DVD-Audio discs and players. MLP can also be used to simply get longer stereo recording times onto the disc, whether the files are at 96kHz or 192kHz sampling rates.

Since Meridian Audio is primarily a manufacturer of high-end home theater hardware, they licensed MLP to Dolby Laboratories for management. Dolby handles further licensing of MLP to DVD player manufacturers and software publishers who incorporate it into their DVD encoding programs.

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