Dolby Digital EX takes the Dolby Digital 5.1-channel setup one step further with an additional center surround channel (reproduced through one or two speakers) for extra dimensional detail and an enveloping surround sound effect.
Feature films originally released in Dolby Digital Surround EX (the cinema version) carry the encoded extra surround channel in their subsequent DVD releases, as well as onto 5.1-channel digital satellite and TV broadcasts. If your home theater system has a receiver or preamp/processor with Dolby Digital EX decoding and speakers to support 6.1 or 7.1 playback, you can hear Surround EX soundtracks as they were meant to be heard, with the increased realism created by the extra surround channel. As in the cinema, with regular 5.1-channel Dolby Digital playback no sonic information is lost (although you'll miss out on the heightened realism).
Current Dolby Digital Surround EX soundtracks contain a digital flag that can automatically activate the EX decoding in a receiver or preamp/processor. For titles released prior to late 2001, however, you need to turn on the EX decoding manually.