In a technology tour that covered several U.S. cities last week, Dolby executives provided an overview on the evolution of its Atmos sound platform in both professional and home markets. Among the highlights was the news that Dolby has developed two new technologies for home theatres and this year will unveil the first loudspeaker to carry the Dolby logo.
Stuart Bowling, Dolby’s director of market development, said all the major movie studios have embraced Atmos and, to date, 154 movies have been released in Atmos sound. Atmos sound is now installed with 650 movie screens worldwide and is being used in fifty post houses in forty countries. Bowling also noted that Dolby is currently working with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers on “how to standardize object-based audio.”
Brett Crockett, senior director, research, sound technology said that by the end of the year there would be Atmos-capable televisions for the home. He said the challenge was how to translate that 128-object sound mix to the home. “How do you interpret sound?” he asked.
To make certain that none of those discreet sounds is thrown away, Crockett said, “We created a new technology called Spatial Coding.” The coding would be handled in a home theatre in the pre-processor.
The other challenge for the home was the speakers. As Crockett put it, “How many speakers are there, where are they located, and what are they?” In particular, how does a home theatre duplicate the sounds that overhead speakers in Atmos-equipped cinemas provide? Crockett pointed out that overhead sound in especially important in a movie because it “puts you in a particular place.” To accomplish that task, he said, “We’ve invented a new type of speaker.” And for the first time ever there will be speakers on the market that carry the Dolby logo.
He said there would also be Atmos-related developments in audio conferencing and mobile phones. The goal is to ensure that, in Crockett’s words, “Atmos is everywhere.”