Dolby Atmos® is a revolutionary new audio technology that transports you into extraordinary entertainment experiences by filling your room with captivating sound from all directions, including overhead, to fill the room with astonishing clarity, richness, detail, and depth.
How does Dolby Atmos cinema content transition to home theaters?
The Dolby Atmos experience in the cinema is powerful and flexible because of its revolutionary use of audio objects. To deliver the full object-based soundtrack to home theaters, Dolby developed new authoring tools and new encoding methods for home theater that take into account the spatial information of the sound objects to efficiently encode them in Dolby® TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus™. This spatial coding is not a channel-based, matrix-encoding system like Dolby Pro Logic® II or Dolby Pro Logic IIz. Instead, this fundamentally new coding technique allows all the audio objects created for the cinema to be used in the home theater. Nothing is lost.
Initially, home theaters will be able to play Dolby Atmos content on Blu-ray Disc™ media or through streaming video services. No matter the source, when a Dolby Atmos stream is fed to an A/V receiver (AVR) or sound bar compatible with Dolby Atmos, the processing will render the object-based audio to your system’s unique speaker configuration to precisely recreate the sound the filmmakers intended. Because the object-based audio mix is delivered to home theaters, Dolby Atmos has the ability to adapt to extremely diverse speaker setups, from sound bars to systems with five speakers on the floor and two speakers producing overhead sound to Dolby Atmos supersystems with 24 speakers on the floor and 10 overhead speakers.
Who is creating content, such as movies, for Dolby Atmos in the home?
Globally, more than 300 cinema blockbusters have been released featuring Dolby Atmos soundtracks since 2012, and many more are on the way. Major Hollywood studios have partnered with Dolby to release home video versions of current box-office releases and previously released favorites. Dolby Atmos movies for the home are available now, with more than 40 Blu-ray™ titles already available worldwide. In addition to global studio partnerships, Dolby is partnering with game and music content creators to take advantage of Dolby Atmos technology for future home theater use.
How does Dolby Atmos audio work?
Until now, cinema sound designers have had to mix independent sounds together into channels for soundtrack creation. A discrete sound, such as a helicopter, has been assigned to an individual channel rather than precisely to where it would occur naturally in the scene. While a sound can move across channels, there’s no height dimension. For example, you might hear the helicopter from a side channel and not above you. This approach limits your audio experience because it can’t come close to matching the way you hear in real life, with sounds coming from every direction.
Dolby Atmos is the first home theater system that is based not on channels but on audio objects. What is an audio object? Any sound heard in a movie scene—a child yelling, a helicopter taking off, a car horn blaring—is an audio object. Filmmakers using Dolby Atmos can decide exactly where those sounds should originate and precisely where they move as the scene develops.
Thinking about sound in this way eliminates many of the limitations of channel-based audio. In a channel-based system, filmmakers have to think about the speaker setup: Should this sound come from the left rear surrounds or the left side surrounds? With Dolby Atmos, filmmakers just have to think about the story: Where is that yelling child going to run? How will the helicopter move overhead after takeoff? The Dolby Atmos system, whether in the cinema or the home theater, has the intelligence to determine what speakers to use to precisely recreate the child’s movement in the way the filmmakers intend. They can now precisely place and move sounds as independent objects in multidimensional space, including anywhere overhead, so you can hear them as you would naturally.
A Dolby Atmos home theater is also far more flexible and adaptable than a channel-based home theater. In a channel-based system with channel-based content, the number of playback 2 speakers is fixed: a 7.1 system consisting of seven speakers and one subwoofer is used to play 7.1-channel content. Additionally, there is no height information in the content. With Dolby Atmos, in contrast, you have amazing flexibility: the format provides even richer, more detailed sound by rendering to overhead or height speakers and/or to more than seven speakers at the listener’s level. As you add speakers, a Dolby Atmos enabled receiver will use them to create even more fantastic, immersive audio.
The flexibility of the Dolby Atmos format also allows the audio to be rendered to deliver an amazing sound bar experience. This enables an amazingly accurate, enveloping audio presentation, including overhead audio, from the form factor and convenience of a sound bar.
With the revolution in audio that is Dolby Atmos, sound designers are freed from channel restrictions. Sounds flow above and around you in step with the visuals, bringing a new sense of height and reality to your listening experience. Dolby Atmos helps weave the audio story to match what’s happening on the screen.