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Next Generation In Immersive / Surround Sound ? (1 Viewer)

Dave Moritz

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Both commercial cinema and home video sound have come along way from where they use to be. We are honestly very spoiled with what we can enjoy in our homes now and spoiled with what we enjoy in commercial cinemas. I am going to stick with home video this time around.

When we started off we only had stereo sound which evolved into Dolby Pro Logic analog surround sound which was basically four channels after decoding. Then we went from VHS to Laserdisc and that gave us Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 surround sound. Then DVD came and shrunk movies down to a CD size disc and many thought with the small disc and digital surround sound like Dolby Digital and DTS we had arrived. How many of you thought there is no way it could get better than this?

Them bam high definition came to town but just like in the VHS vs Beta days we where back in a format war but we where now offered an upgrade in sound to Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio with few titles offering uncompressed PCM surround sound. And just when we may have thought this is it we got another upgrade where we are now with 4K resolution and the continuation of Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio but we are also now seeing the addition of titles offering the next generation of surround sound for the home. We now have Dolby Atmos and DTS-X which are called immersive audio that is added onto Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. We are truly blessed with the quality of movies we can enjoy in our homes.

We have seen a number of formats come and go and all raised the bar giving us better and better quality in our homes but is this it? Is lossless audio 5.1 and 7.1 it? Are we going to stagnate at immersive audio? Not that this is a bad thing in anyway but honestly what could the do next? Is there anything they could do that would make people want to upgrade there movies all over again past the current 4K UHD Blu-rays with lossless audio?

How good do we really need it and can people really hear beyond what is now available? How many speakers will people be willing to put in there room before they say no more? Have we reached that point now? As it is I believe the average consumer may have already hit that proverbial wall already because it just seems like 5.1 for the average consumer may be that point where they do not want anymore speakers. Some argue that in smaller rooms you do not really need more than a 5.1 system. In some cases it is 7.1 being the standard but right now how many people are willing to add those extra two speakers? So now with immersive audio there could be an additional 2 - 4 speakers in the ceiling but again how many of the average consumers know about or are looking to add those speakers and upgrade there a/v gear to have Dolby Atmos or DTS-X?

So if there is another next big thing in audio coming what in the world could they do that has not been done already? Something new seems to always be around the corner and equipment manufactures keep offering newer and newer models to offer the next newest toy that they hope consumers will want. But with lossless audio/immersive audio that can be set up in 5.1, 7.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.4 or even 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 configurations what could they possibly do to expand what immersive audio can do? Is it even possible to replicate real world reproduction of sound or a true 3D audio representation? And if the average consumer is ok with 5.1 how could the next step in audio evolution succeed?

Or is the next step going to only be something that commercial cinemas will offer to attract people to the theaters? If we have not hit the more than good enough in surround sound/immersive audio what do you feel is the next step? Right now I have a 7.1 system but I would love to upgrade my a/v receiver and expand and upgrade to 7.2.4 with Dolby Atmos and DTS-X along with the current ability to playback Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio. But this is my more than good enough point and I honestly don't need more than that and at the end of the day I can live with my 7.1 if I have to. I can live with 4K no problem and enjoy HD blu-rays for movies not out in 4K.
 

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