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Dolby Atmos Demo Day in NYC

More announcements due at CEDIA Expo

August 13, 2014 By Nancy Klosek
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Dolby Laboratories held a demonstration day to showcase both its cinema and home theater applications of Dolby Atmos sound technology at its New York City offices Aug. 13, as prelude to what Dolby senior director of sound technology research Brett Crockett termed “specific, multiple announcements” regarding the technology during CEDIA Expo next month.

The company ran an “apples-to-apples” comparison of the Atmos cinema version, which employs multiple overhead speakers for a height effect, against Atmos-enabled speakers in a home theater setting whereby certain speakers, which either contain Atmos-enabled upward-firing modules or are tethered to Atmos-enabled upward-firing modules, work in tandem with Dolby Atmos-endowed AV receivers to produce the height effect without overhead-positioned speakers.

In a blog about Atmos for home theater, Crockett stated that the technology “is the first home theater system that is based not on channels, but on audio objects,” with “object” defined as “any sound heard in a movie scene.” In Dolby Atmos technology, up to 128 audio objects can be measured and a “renderer” then uses that information to customize the sound for the room according to the number and placement of speakers within it.

The technology will work with 5.1-channel speaker systems; the addition of a minimum of two Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers placed at front left and front right (with either built-in or exterior modules) provides the height effect that makes for the Atmos (or a 5.1.2) experience.

However, demos using a 7.1.4 configuration were conducted by Pete Razukas, product marketing manager.  The demos consisted of a Dolby Atmos AV receiver and left, center and right speakers, with A-B switching (for comparison purposes) between four overhead in-ceiling speakers and four Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers (two side-located and two rear-located).

Manufacturers who have already announced Dolby Atmos AV receivers or processors include Denon, Integra, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer, Steinway Lyngdorf and Yamaha. Definitive Technology has already announced Dolby Atmos-enabled speaker modules, and Pioneer has introduced an Andrew Jones-designed line of Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. Onkyo, for its part, has announced a Dolby Atmos-endowed home theater in a box system.

There are currently 150 films mixed in Dolby Atmos for the cinema, and Dolby Atmos Blu-ray titles and streaming video content will begin to appear in the fall, although no titles or studios have been announced, according to the company.
Crockett stated that the company is working on algorithms to make the technology viable for headphones. “That’s something that’s coming in the near future,” he said.
 

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