THX Ltd., known primarily for the certification of cinemas and consumer electronics, has announced a new THX Spatial Audio Platform at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) being held in Barcelona this week. Billed as an ‘end-to-end’ universal positional audio solution, it will support immersive audio formats such as Dolby Atmos, open standards and legacy content, across mobile, PC and consumer electronics devices.

Although the platform is comprised of components for content creation, it is also optimized for audio playback over a range of consumer devices which can be integrated into distribution workflows. THX is also making components that will make the platform available independently.

With MPEG-H encoding and decoding, transport of the audio technology will be available for next generation broadcasts and streaming video. A rendering engine also allows for spatializing ambisonic and object-based audio content through headphones and speakers across all consumer devices.

Tuning and Device Optimization will measure and calibrate audio playback to deliver the highest quality audio over both headphones and speakers, and a Personalization capability will deliver personalized audio profiles using Head Related Transfer Functions (HRTF) that will be optimized for a listener’s unique hearing physics.

Both THX and Qualcomm are jointly demonstrating the THX Spatial Audio Platform including encode, decode, transport and rendering of content using the MPEG-H audio standard. THX Ltd. claims that the platform is a ‘cost-effective solution’ for the industry to deploy high-fidelity audio entertainment to consumers across mobile, PC and consumer electronics devices.

“THX has a rich history of ensuring high fidelity audio and visual experiences for consumers and as technology continues to evolve, so do we,” said Rube Mookerjee, SVP of Product, THX Ltd. “We look forward to working closely with Qualcomm to bring next generation experiences to life with THX Audio using MPEG-H.”

We can certainly expect to see this technology deployed on VR and AR applications in the future, so the capabilities on the THX platform will certainly find their way into the games arena. Spatialization can give the impression that sound is emanating from outside a pair of headphones. HRTF, meanwhile, can lock sounds or channels to their respective virtual locations in a room, so if you turn your head away to right, for example, the audio cue will move to the left and behind you. We’ve seen these technologies in higher-end devices before, but be sure that if this tech is coming to phones and tablets, we could be witnessing something of a revolution.



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Martin Dew