The latest big thing for surround sound for home theater setups is called Dolby Atmos. The technology was rolled out in 2012 for cinemas and was first used in Pixar’s “Brave.” Now Dolby Atmos is available for home theaters, and Netflix is starting to produce programming that takes advantage of the technology, according to the Verge.
The way that Dolby Atmos works is that it configures sounds as objects rather than restrict them to individual channels. In a movie theater setting, this involves setting up speakers along the walls and the ceilings of the auditorium. Sounds then seem to originate from the direction they would in real life and then move in the appropriate direction. Hence, an aircraft engine would appear to come from above and move across the sky. The sound of people speaking would move from one side to the other with the characters.
In a home theater system, the set up comes with an AV receiver that is capable of processing Dolby Atmos sound and up to 34 speakers, though most can get away with using fewer. To get the effect of sound coming from above, one has a couple of options. The first option involves using speakers that can bounce sound off the ceiling, thus gaining the effect. For hardcore enthusiasts, specially designed speakers are available that can be mounted on the ceiling. The ideal setup consists of 12 speakers at floor level and two to four on the ceiling as an upgrade.
In the meantime, programming that uses Dolby Atmos is just starting to be available. Netflix has released a film called “Okja” that uses the new surround sound technology and will be rolling out other feature-length films configured the same way periodically in the future.
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