What Is PCM in a Vizio TV?

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Pulse-Code Modulation is an audio technology that you can use with your Vizio TV. PCM is designed to give more resonant sound when you use it with a surround sound system. It is important to know how PCM works so that you can compare it to other audio technologies, such as Dolby Digital.



Pulse-Code Modulation is a digital data stream that you can find on DVDs, CDs and HDTVs. It is created by converting analog sound into a digital file. The data stream is uncompressed, meaning that it is usually larger than streams created by competing technologies. However, this also means that the resulting sound is of a higher quality. You will find the PCM option on the Vizio in the same menu that you will find another audio technology: Dolby Digital.

Dolby Digital

Dolby Digital, the Vizio's other surround sound option, is an older technology that is frequently used in cinemas, on Blu-ray disks and DVDs. Unlike in PCM, Dolby Digital's data stream is compressed using a lossy format. This means that during compression, some data is lost. Lost data can lead to a loss in audio quality, though this is not always the case. When you use Dolby Digital, you will likely not notice any loss of quality because it features six discreet audio channels. This means that a lot of independent sounds can be created at once.


Surround Sound

A surround sound audio system is any arrangement of speakers that creates the illusion of immersion. Typically, each speaker produces a different channel, giving the sound a three-dimensional feel. The goal of surround sound is to make you, the viewer, feel as if you are surrounded by the action that is happening on-screen. It is important to know the difference between PCM and Dolby digital technologies, because once you set your surround system up, you will have to configure your Vizio to use one or the other.


Setting your Audio to PCM

Once you have your speakers connected to your Vizio via the red and white audio out jacks, you can set your Vizio to PCM mode. To do this, press "Menu" on the remote and then select the "TV Settings" option. Locate and select the "Audio" entry, followed by "Advanced Audio." Press the down arrow button and then select "Digital Audio." Press the right arrow button to highlight "PCM" and then select it. Finally, press "Exit" to close the menu.