Multi Channel Television Sound


Multi-Channel Television Sound (MTS) is a broadcast technology used in television systems to provide enhanced audio quality. It enables the transmission of multiple audio channels, such as stereo sound and secondary audio programming, alongside a standard video signal. This system allows viewers to enjoy a richer audio experience and access supplementary content, such as alternate language options or descriptive narration for visually impaired users.

Key Takeaways

  1. Multi Channel Television Sound (MTS) is an analog television sound transmission technology, providing stereo and additional audio channels for broadcasting purposes.
  2. MTS was introduced in the 1980s and was the primary method for delivering stereo and bilingual audio broadcasts in the United States and Canada until the transition to digital television.
  3. It consists of three primary audio channels: the Main (stereo), Second Audio Program (SAP) for alternate languages or descriptive audio, and Professional (PRO) for internal broadcaster use.


Multi-Channel Television Sound (MTS) is an important technological term because it revolutionized audio experience in television broadcasting.

Developed in the early 1980s, MTS allowed for the enhancement of TV audio by providing stereo sound, as well as additional audio services like secondary audio channels and closed captioning.

This advancement significantly improved the overall viewing experience by offering higher audio fidelity, greater immersion, and more options for those with hearing impairments or those who require different language options.

MTS played a crucial role in enriching family entertainment and marked the transition towards modern TV audio standards such as Dolby Digital and DTS.


Multi Channel Television Sound (MTS) serves as a pivotal innovation in the advancement of immersive television experiences, as it enhances the audio component of broadcasts and expands the depth and dimension of the soundscape. Primarily, MTS enables the transmission of multiple audio channels, which allows viewers to experience an enriched auditory environment, fine-tuned to create a more lifelike encounter.

This audio technology encompasses stereo sound, secondary audio programming (SAP), and other supplementary channels that cater to varying preferences, such as alternate languages or descriptive audio for visually impaired individuals. By utilizing MTS, content creators and broadcasters can cater to a wider range of audience preferences, catering to a more inclusive and accessible viewing experience while enriching the overall production value of their programs.

Furthermore, the implementation of MTS facilitates audience engagement, as it promotes a sense of depth and space that better synchronizes with the visual elements of a broadcast. This synchronization fosters a more immersive and captivating experience for viewers, as they can perceive the different auditory layers within a scene, such as background music, dialogue, and environmental sounds.

Consequently, this approach creates a more dynamic and interactive form of media, as it allows the audience to more fully connect with the content being presented. With its many applications, such as in television series, movies, concerts, and sports events, MTS is an essential factor in delivering rich and fulfilling media experiences that captivate audiences and elevate the standard of modern television programming.

Examples of Multi Channel Television Sound

Multi-Channel Television Sound (MTS) is a technology used to provide stereo and bilingual sound for television broadcasts. Here are three real-world examples:

Stereo TV broadcasts: MTS has been used since the 1980s to provide stereo audio for television programs, where the left and right audio channels are broadcast separately. This technology enables better sound quality and a more immersive experience for viewers. Many TV stations, including major networks such as NBC, CBS, and ABC in the United States, have adopted MTS to enhance their audio offerings.

Second Audio Programs (SAP): MTS also allows for the transmission of a secondary audio channel, known as the Second Audio Program (SAP). This channel can be used to provide alternative audio content, such as audio description for visually impaired viewers, a different language version of the program, or to broadcast additional commentary or information. For example, sporting events might offer alternate commentary or analysis via the SAP channel.

Bilingual broadcasts: Television stations in countries with two or more official languages, like Canada, often use MTS as a method to provide bilingual audio. The primary channel broadcasts the program’s audio in one language, while the SAP channel offers the same program’s audio in another language. This way, viewers can easily switch between languages based on their preference and enjoy the same content in their preferred language.

Frequently Asked Questions about Multi Channel Television Sound

1. What is Multi Channel Television Sound (MTS)?

Multi Channel Television Sound (MTS) is an analog television sound system that enables the transmission of multiple audio channels for a program, such as the main audio and a secondary audio like another language or descriptive audio for the visually impaired.

2. When was MTS developed?

MTS was developed in the 1980s by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and the Television Broadcast Service Subcommittee. It became a standard for stereo sound transmission on analog television broadcasts in North America.

3. How does MTS work?

MTS works by encoding multiple audio channels into a single audio signal using a technique called “Subcarrier Time Division Multiplexing” (STDM). This encoded signal is then transmitted with the television video signal, and the audio channels are decoded and separated by the MTS decoder found in compatible television sets or audio-video receiver devices.

4. What are the components of MTS?

MTS consists of three key components: the main audio program (MAP), the Secondary Audio Program (SAP), and the Professional Audio Program (PRO). The MAP is the primary audio channel, while the SAP and PRO are additional audio channels that may feature alternative languages, descriptive audio, or other supplementary content.

5. What happened to MTS with the transition to digital television?

With the transition to digital television, MTS was replaced by digital audio systems such as Dolby Digital and MPEG audio. These digital audio systems provide improved sound quality and support for additional audio channels, making them better suited for modern television broadcasting.

Related Technology Terms

  • Surround Sound
  • Audio Encoding
  • Signal Compression
  • Broadcast Standards
  • Dolby Digital

Sources for More Information


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