updated 12:10 pm EDT, Tue April 24, 2012
Dolby Atmos brings audio from above viewers
Dolby has revealed details on its new Atmos sound technology for movie theaters. It promises to significantly change the movie-watching experience by bringing sound from above the viewer and moving it around in any direction. During a horror movie, for example, footsteps from the floor above are recreated from above the seats to add to the realism.
The system will use up to 64 speaker feeds when it arrives in a limited number of premium theaters in the United States, Europe, China, and Japan later this year, with a broader launch in 2013. The company hopes to eventually bring the system to homes with large-screen TVs and sound systems as well, and can be configured to preserve the sound mix regardless of the size or geometry of the auditorium or room.
Content creators will get access to legacy 5.1- and 7.1-channel mixes automatically and thereby save postproduction time. Atmos is being called the most significant innovation in years by Dolby Labs' President and CEO, Kevin Yeaman.