By Brett Crockett, Senior Director of Sound Research
As the Director of Sound Research here at Dolby, I take my audio very seriously. This includes, of course, having a very serious home theater in my living room.
In 2012 when we introduced Dolby Atmos®, the groundbreaking cinema sound system that puts moviegoers in the middle of the action, I started imagining how much better my home theater—and millions of others—could sound. From hearing the exciting cinema sound that Dolby Atmos made possible, I knew there was the potential to raise home entertainment to an entirely new level.
So our research and home theater teams began work on bringing Dolby Atmos to the living room. Our goal was to make home theater sound better than ever, while giving audio enthusiasts flexible choices in how they set up their system. I’m proud to say that after a lot of dreaming, experimentation, and innovation, we’ve succeeded in creating an incredible Dolby Atmos experience for the home that will be available to any entertainment fan.
You may have already heard announcements from some of our hardware partners about their products that allow you to feel every dimension of your home entertainment in Dolby Atmos. You’ll be hearing more of those announcements in the coming months.
Bringing the Dolby Atmos experience home
Dolby Atmos has the amazing ability to have sounds come from above you. In the movie Noah, for instance, Dolby Atmos in the cinema made it sound like the torrential rains were pouring down from the sky on top of you. And if you saw Godzilla in a Dolby Atmos movie theatre, hearing the monster roar above you was beyond realistic—it was terrifying.
You’re probably wondering how you can recreate this effect in your living room. We want to make bringing Dolby Atmos into your home as easy as possible, so we’ve given you choices.
If you’re willing and able to install speakers in your ceiling, there will be great options. If that’s not possible for you—and for many people, it isn’t—our partners will offer new Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers that produce full, detailed overhead sound from speakers located where your conventional speakers are now.
If you already have speakers that you love, you can choose an add-on, Dolby Atmos-enabled speaker module that complements your existing speakers. (In fact, many people will place the modules right on top of their current speakers.)
How do we create the sensation of sounds above your head if there are no speakers above your head? It’s complicated, but it all comes down to understanding the physics of sound waves and understanding the way your brain interprets those sound waves.
Our partners will also offer home theater receivers and other entertainment devices to decode and deliver the Dolby Atmos experience in your home. And you likely won’t need a new Blu-ray™ player—existing players that fully conform to the Blu-ray specification will be able to support Dolby Atmos content on a Blu-ray Disc™.
But Dolby Atmos isn’t just about hardware. At its core, it’s a powerful creative tool that lets filmmakers use exceptionally lifelike sound to deliver the full impact of their artistic vision. We’re working with studios and production houses to help them create Dolby Atmos soundtracks for a broad range of movies and TV for home viewing. You’ll start to see Dolby Atmos titles on Blu-ray and streaming video services this fall, with more to come at the start of 2015.
Over the next few months, you’ll be hearing much more from Dolby and our hardware partners about bringing the Dolby Atmos sound to your home. I can’t wait to hear the reaction of home theater fans when they first experience their homes filled with powerful Dolby Atmos sound. (If you’d like more details about setting up a Dolby Atmos home theater, take a look at our FAQ.)
And personally, I can’t wait to take my own home theater to the next level, literally, with Dolby Atmos.