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Friday, January 11, 2008
Dolby and DTS at CES 2008

Dolby and DTS showcased new sound and video technologies for high-definition applications and products at CES 2008.

DTS - Virtual surround on stereo

Meeting the market demand for high quality surround sound derived from two speaker sources, DTS unveilled a new technology under the brand DTS Surround Sensation. Throughout the CES show, the company held live "A/B" demonstrations of DTS Surround Sensation Headphone technology.

DTS Surround Sensation processing contains psycho-acoustic information that alters human perception, making one believe that sounds actually occurring outside the boundaries of the two-speaker system or headphones. The technology creates a three-dimensional wall of sound that exceeds the limitations of just two speakers. DTS Surround Sensation also supplements the weakened stereo image and ambience of digitally-compressed audio, while keeping the monaural components (such as solo vocals) unchanged.

The DTS algorithm enhances signal clarity to address problems that may occur due to competing signals from speakers and film content that is specifically mixed for cinema playback.

In instances where the original source material is only two-channel input stream, DTS Surround Sensation will improve the listening experience by broadening the soundstage and creating a phantom center channel for improved clarity. This creates the sensation that the speakers or headphones are farther apart than they actually are, and some sounds seems to be directly in front of you.

The technology also restores the perception of fundamental low-frequency effects (LFE) by dynamically augmenting harmonics, yielding improved bass performance without the additional hardware costs of adding a subwoofer.

Dolby - New High Dynamic Range Technologies For HDTVs

Dolby Laboratories demonstrated its new suite of high dynamic range (HDR) imaging technologies and announcing that the first to market, Dolby Contrast, will be ready for distribution to LCD manufacturers in the first quarter of 2008.

"With Dolby HDR technologies, you see how the contrast and brightness of images displayed on LCD TVs with locally dimmed, light-emitting diode backlighting can virtually match real-world visual perceptions of depth and detail," said Francois Modarresse, Vice President, Marketing, Dolby Laboratories.

Dolby Contrast provides enhanced image contrast, enabling LCD televisions with backlight units to leverage LEDs with local dimming. The result is higher contrast ratios and improvements to the overall image quality.

Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Volume

Dolby also showcased an array of audio technologies. Key highlights include the incorporation of Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Volume in more consumer electronics products. Also making their first appearance under the Dolby brand is aacPlus, gained from the recent acquisition of Coding Technologies.

Dolby Digital Plus is the next-generation audio technology for high-definition programming and media. It is being implemented in a wide range of consumer electronics products, including new HDTVs from Sony, LG Electronics, and Philips as well as the recently launched Vudu set-top box and movie download service. It's also a key technology in Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD players, delivering up to 7.1 channels of surround sound with better audio quality than that of standard DVDs.

Built on Dolby Digital, the multichannel audio standard for DVD and HD broadcasts, Dolby Digital Plus delivers a richer experience for current and next-generation delivery formats and playback systems, while it remains compatible with all current A/V receivers.

At CES 2008, Dolby is also showcasing chip designs supporting Dolby Digital Plus for digital set-top boxes, with IC implementations from Broadcom, Conexant, and ST Microelectronics.

Dolby Volume

Dolby Volume is an audio-processing technology designed to allow consumer electronics products to deliver consistent loudness from various audio sources. Dolby is displaying product prototypes of an Onkyo A/V receiver and an Olevia LCD HDTV (manufactured by Syntax-Brillian) that incorporate Dolby Volume.

Dolby Volume is part of a Dolby solution to address loudness issues, which includes both professional solutions that aid in setting correct audio levels prior to broadcast and device-level solutions that aid in controlling volume inconsistencies at playback. Dolby Volume, specifically designed for consumer electronics products, automatically controls audio levels over a wide range of devices and consumer media formats.

In addition to audio leveling, Dolby Volume offers another benefit. Due to the nature of human hearing, many subtleties of the content can be lost when listening at low audio levels. To address this problem, Dolby Volume continually analyzes and modifies the audio volume depending on both the content and the playback level, restoring it to the way it would be perceived at the reference playback level. The result is improved surround imaging, enhanced dialogue intelligibility, and improved overall clarity of the audio content at lower levels.

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