Home theatre enthusiasts — and we know there’s a fair few of you out there — have probably been waiting with bated breath for Dolby’s super-surround concept known as “Atmos” to come home. Good news, people: it’s almost here.
If you haven’t heard of Dolby Atmos before, you’re in for a treat, though only if you can find a cinema and a movie supporting the technology. The concept takes a movie theatre and throws around 60 surround sound speaker into the cinema, with the movie capable of sending diverse soundtracks to each of these speakers, creating a more complete sound experience.
For those keeping track at home, that’s a difference of around 60 channels (essentially, up to 64 channels) compared with the five to seven channels heard in most cinemas.
In Australia, the theatres are few with support for the technology. Melbourne has one that we know of, with the Village Cinemas Crown featuring one cinema with Dolby Atmos, which currently runs blockbuster movies through its sound system. At the time of publishing, that included Tom Cruise’s “Edge of Tomorrow,” “Transformers 4,” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”
Big movies with big sound. That sort of thing, and since there are lots of speakers spread out over the big room that is a cinema, it makes a lot of sense.
But most homes don’t have the space that a movie theatre would have, and so Dolby has had to come up with something else for a home environment.
“If you’re willing and able to install speakers in your ceiling, there will be great options,” said Brett Crockett, Dolby’s Director of Sound Research in a blog on Dolby’s website. “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.”