Science & Tech

Sound Ideas: Reinventing the Audio Experience

Today consumers want cinematic entertainment experiences—including the highest-quality audio—across a range of devices. Content providers want the opportunity to add additional services to their broadcasts plus a simplified workflow that eliminates the need to create different audio assets for mobile devices and living room delivery. The industry solution is Dolby® AC-4, which has been chosen as the audio standard for terrestrial broadcast in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. With Dolby AC-4, broadcasters can create a single stream of high-quality audio for all audiences and devices.

Less bandwidth, more entertainment
Dolby AC-4, which is four times as efficient as Dolby® Digital, lowers data transmission costs for broadcasters and creates bandwidth to add new channels and additional audio options consumers want. For consumers who watch video on mobile devices, lower bandwidth rates matter both to data plans and to streaming over less-than-ideal Internet connections. And with support for Dolby® Atmos, both consumers and broadcasters can count on a rich, immersive audio experience, regardless of device or location.

End-to-end consistency
The entertainment industry needs a complete, cost-effective, end-to-end audio solution that spans content creation, distribution, and playback. Dolby AC-4 meets those requirements. Because Dolby AC-4 works across platforms and devices, it no longer matters whether content is sent via satellite to a TV or streamed over the Internet to a mobile phone. This simplified workflow lowers production costs, reduces complexity, and assures consumers get a consistent audio experience.

For example, consumers are frustrated by the fluctuating audio levels between programming and commercials. With Dolby AC-4’s integrated loudness management, the audio from commercials and TV shows is aligned and smoothed out, so there aren’t peaks and valleys of booming or barely audible sound. Broadcasters and content providers no longer need to worry about losing audience, and can more easily comply with regulations like the CALM Act.

Enhanced audio
One out of every eight people in the United States suffers from significant hearing loss. Dialog, in particular, can be difficult to hear, even for those who aren’t hearing impaired. Dolby AC-4 gives consumers the ability to amplify and enhance dialog to make it more intelligible. Dolby AC-4 also delivers rich audio descriptions for the 10 percent of adults who are visually impaired.

More audio options
Dolby AC-4 not only improves sound quality, consistency, and ubiquity across devices, it also opens up new possibilities for broadcasters and consumers. Dolby AC-4 enables consumers to switch between different audio experiences, including announcers, languages, and even the ambient sound in the stands to make the living room feel like the stadium. Broadcasters have the opportunity to add these and other consumer options to drive revenue and brand loyalty.

Value for Creators and Broadcasters
Key industry partners all over the world, from Europe to the United States, are already trialing and adopting Dolby AC-4 because of the robust feature set. Televisions will soon be in the market to bring the power of AC-4 to consumers worldwide.