DTS (also known as Digital Theater Systems), owned by DTS, Inc., is a multi-channel digital surround sound format used for both commercial / theatrical and consumer grade applications. It is used for in-movie sound both on film and on DVD, and during the last few years of the format's existence, several Laserdisc releases had DTS soundtracks.
One of the company's initial investors was film director Steven Spielberg, who felt that theatrical sound formats up until the company's founding were no longer state of the art, and as a result were no longer optimal for use on projects where quality sound reproduction was of the utmost importance. Work on the format started in 1991, four years after Dolby Labs started work on its new codec, Dolby Digital. The basic and most common version of the format is a 5.1 channel system, similar to a Dolby Digital setup, which encodes the audio as five primary (full-range) channels plus a special LFE (low-frequency effect) channel, for the subwoofer.
Other newer DTS variants are also currently available, including versions that support up to seven primary audio channels plus one LFE channel (DTS-ES). DTS's main competitors in multichannel theatrical audio are Dolby Digital and SDDS, although only Dolby Digital and DTS are used on DVDs and implemented in home theater hardware. Spielberg debuted the format with his 1993 production of Jurassic Park, which came slightly less than a full year after the official theatrical debut of Dolby Digital (Batman Returns). In addition, Jurassic Park also became the first home video release to contain DTS sound when it was released on LaserDisc in January 1997, two years after the first Dolby Digital home video release (Clear and Present Danger on Laserdisc) which debuted in January of 1995.