Broadcasters are finding that audiences expect HD services to be accompanied with 5.1 surround sound audio, including those in the Middle East, according to an executive at Dolby Laboratories.
Stereo has now been superseded with the continuing HD rollout and major upcoming events such as the World Cup continuing to fuel enthusiasm for multi-channel audio.
“It’s an exciting time for us, audio is becoming far more prominent than it ever has been before,” said James Caselton, broadcast marketing manager EMEA, Dolby Laboratories.
“It’s not really a question of whether people want 5.1. Our concern now is about how we can help broadcasters and operators deliver it to their audiences,” added Caselton.
“When stereo came along people thought it was great. Then we went into the iPod age and the focus was firmly on compression. Now what we are seeing is that emphasis coming back to the question of quality.”
This drive towards surround sound is not restricted to Europe with Caselton revealing that Dolby is in talks with a number of customers in the Middle East.
“We are talking to some big operators in the region. Some are considering a move to more vertical business model whereby they specify their STB requirements more carefully so they can deliver high quality audio technology to their audiences. Certainly for HD services they want to use 5.1.”