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Dolby Laboratories Launches New Virtual Speaker Technology.

Business Editors/High-Tech Writers


Enriches PC Entertainment and Games With a Richer, More Enveloping

Experience; First Licensees Announce Products Incorporating

Dolby Virtual Speaker Technology

Dolby Laboratories, the world leader in multichannel audio technologies, today officially announced Dolby(R) Virtual Speaker technology, the latest Dolby technology aimed at enhancing PC entertainment. Dolby Virtual Speaker technology uses a next-generation advanced algorithm to reproduce the dynamics and surround sound effects of a precisely placed 5.1-channel speaker system on a PC equipped with just two speakers. The net result is a more true-to-life and involving entertainment experience for movies, music, and gaming.

The official launch of Dolby Virtual Speaker is part of Dolby Laboratories' broader "Dolby in PC" initiative, unveiled today. This new initiative provides a comprehensive overview of the role of Dolby technologies in today's PCs and how Dolby audio technologies positively impact the PC's evolution into a home entertainment gateway. (Please see separate announcement on the "Dolby in PC" initiative, dated October 29, 2002.)

Leading PC OEMs have adopted Dolby Virtual Speaker technology into their new models. Dolby Virtual Speaker technology has also been integrated into software DVD players from CyberLink(R) and InterVideo.

"InterVideo has integrated Dolby's Virtual Speaker technology into our latest version of WinDVD, the world's most popular DVD-playing software," said Steve Ro, founder and CEO of InterVideo. "The simple fact is that most PCs ship with only two speakers and by adding Virtual Speaker technology to WinDVD, these consumers get a natural surround sound when watching DVDs. It sounds incredible -- you really have to hear it to believe it."

Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink Corp., said, "PowerDVD delivers the best in digital video and audio technologies. It is our pleasure to incorporate the Dolby Virtual Speaker Technology into PowerDVD and to develop a set of rich audio features that makes PowerDVD the premiere DVD movie and MP3 music entertainment on the PC."

"Consumers are increasingly using their PCs for entertainment -- watching DVDs, listening to music, and playing games -- but the audio experience on a PC could not match that of a good home theater unless users added multispeaker configurations," said Ron Vitale, director of consumer marketing. "Dolby Virtual Speaker technology replicates a rich, immersive multichannel audio experience, using just two standard PC speakers. With Dolby Virtual Speaker technology, PC users can experience new levels of entertainment when a surround sound speaker setup is not practical.

Dolby Virtual Speaker Technology Transforms PC Audio

Dolby Virtual Speaker technology is referred to as a surround-sound virtualizer. It provides listeners with the surround-sound experience of a 5.1-speaker system from just two speakers. In other words, sounds coming from a PC's speakers seem as if they actually emanate from behind and to the sides of the listener, as well as from the front.

Dolby Virtual Speaker technology creates an audio "sweet spot" ideally suited to a single listener, making it perfect for PC applications. Compared to audio coming from standard PC speakers, the richer, fuller, more enveloping sound created by Dolby Virtual Speaker significantly enhances users' enjoyment of, and involvement in, movies, music, and games on their PCs.

The algorithm at the heart of Dolby Virtual Speaker is based on advanced psychoacoustic parameters that include an understanding of sound from both a technical and a human, experiential perspective. In a typical listening environment, the sound from a speaker is reflected within the room before reaching a listener's ears, arriving at different times at each ear, and at different amplitudes and equalization from the direct sound. The brain's interpretation of these separate audio elements supplied to the right and left ears allows the person to identify the direction and distance of the sound's source.

Dolby Virtual Speaker technology capitalizes on these biological and psychological factors to create the impression of additional speakers positioned exactly at the recommended location for a Dolby Digital sound system with five physical speakers.

Dolby Virtual Speaker technology processes sonic signatures, or impulse responses, that contain all relevant information regarding the location of the virtual speakers (i.e., the "speakers" that the user perceives). Unlike other virtual surround applications, Dolby Virtual Speaker processes all of the reflections of a sonic signature, which provides the brain all the information necessary to accurately perceive the location of sounds and the spatial depth of the environment. The result is a consistently natural sounding and highly compelling surround sound experience.

Dolby Virtual Speaker Technology Enhances Consumer Entertainment

Dolby Virtual Speaker technology joins several other significant Dolby technologies that have improved people's everyday entertainment lives, notably Dolby Digital -- the world's most popular digital surround sound format, experienced in movie theatres, DVDs, digital television, and games -- and Dolby Headphone technology, a value-added solution for providing dramatic surround sound effects from any conventional set of headphones.

Dolby is working closely with Analog Devices and Texas Instruments to incorporate Dolby Virtual Speaker technology into their digital signal processors. Soon Dolby Virtual Speaker technology will be available in traditional entertainment-based products, such as DVD, digital television, D-VHS players, and multimedia speaker systems.

"Analog Devices is proud to be the industry's first to implement Dolby Virtual Speaker technology," said Mike Haidar, general manager, software & systems technology, Analog Devices, Inc. "This bears testament to the ultimate flexibility of our Melody(R) audio processor, since it makes it possible to deliver this new audio format in addition to its wide complement of industry standard formats, including Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic(R), Dolby Pro Logic II, AAC, THX Surround EX, Dolby Headphone, and Dolby Digital Consumer Encoding."

"We believe speaker virtualization is a key technology in the consumer audio space," said Curt Moore, WW business manager of the performance audio business at Texas Instruments (TI). "With optimized, cost-effective implementations of Dolby Virtual Speaker technology on TI's DA610 Aureus(TM) audio DSP, OEMs will be able to offer a more enveloping surround sound experience beyond the traditional 5.1 multispeaker home theater market."

About Dolby Laboratories

Dolby Laboratories is the developer of signal processing systems used worldwide in applications that include motion picture sound, consumer entertainment products and media, broadcasting, and music recording. Based in San Francisco with European headquarters in England, the privately held company also has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo. For more information about Dolby Laboratories or Dolby technologies, please visit

Note to Editors: Dolby, Pro Logic, and the double-D symbol are registered trademarks of Dolby Laboratories. Surround EX is a trademark of Dolby Laboratories. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 29, 2002
Previous Article:Dolby Announces New Consumer Marketing Group; Hires Marketing Veterans to Lead Consumer Marketing Efforts.
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