Dolby Atmos is a term that nearly everyone has heard. Still, it’s safe to say that not everyone is in tune with the velocity of its implementation within the home theater category. Dolby, specializing in spatial audio and other immersive sound technologies, debuted Dolby Atmos in 2012, just a little over a decade ago, with the release of Pixar’s “Brave.” When the technology was first introduced, it was used exclusively in professional movie theaters. Dolby Atmos was first introduced into home entertainment in 2014 when the first home theater receivers that supported the technology were launched.
These new solutions, along with proper speaker configurations, allowed consumers to experience Dolby Atmos sound in their homes for the first time, but adoption was slow at first. Now, the floodgates have opened with Dolby Atmos showing up all around us (pun intended).
Dolby Atmos has become increasingly popular in the home entertainment industry, with more and more movies and TV shows being mixed into the format. Even Apple music and gaming services offer content with Dolby Atmos. Now, it is easier for consumers to bring this immersive sound experience right into their homes. This creates a terrific opportunity for retailers to inform and educate customers and show them how they can create incredible in-home entertainment experiences.
What to expect within the home theater category in 2023 and beyond
Not so long ago, acquiring a surround sound experience in the home was extraordinarily complex. You had to jump through several hoops, including setting up a source or sources for media or broadcast media, connecting components such as a multichannel AVR, running wire around the room to a multi-channel speaker system, and then procuring all of the content you wished to enjoy. Now, with the proliferation of broadband and numerous content providers bringing highly produced content, including Dolby Atmos sound, into our homes, enjoying the current high standard of home entertainment is relatively easy.
Just last year, we saw an uptick in Dolby Atmos-capable products and a significant increase in content supported by well-known streaming services including Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. Dolby Atmos is becoming the standard for anyone who wants to have a modern home theater or home entertainment room.
Now, TV and speaker brands are working hard to advance their offerings to ensure this leading immersive surround sound standard can be enjoyed more quickly and efficiently in homes. With the rising wave of Dolby Atmos and the constant call for system setup simplicity has come the need and desire for even more robust wireless solutions. As a result, solutions using WiSA wireless technology aimed directly at the Dolby Atmos market began to appear. In April of 2021, WiSA Association member Lithe Audio achieved WiSA HT Certification for their Pro Series in-ceiling speaker aimed at the custom installation market and Atmos installations.
In late 2022, WiSA Technologies (Wireless Audio and Speaker Association) and Platin Audio launched the Platin Monaco 5.1.2 system, the first wireless audio system to incorporate true up-firing Dolby Atmos speakers. The system is bundled with WiSA’s own award-winning WiSA SoundSend.
WiSA HT is WiSA’s current eight-channel, high-definition wireless audio transmitting technology found in the WiSA SoundSend and all current WiSA-certified speakers. It utilizes proprietary transmitter and receiver modules that can be found in products from approximately 30 consumer electronics brands.
All WiSA Association members are aligned with the shared mission of interoperability and cutting out cords and setup hassle completely. Systems like the Platin Audio Monaco 5.1.4 with WiSA SoundSend are ideal for consumers who are often detoured by the thought of setting up a home theater system themselves.
With nearly 500 feature films in Dolby Atmos and a large and growing catalog of original content available to stream in the format, there is great value in putting Dolby Atmos-enabled products in the hands of consumers, especially when you prioritize the convenience of wireless, easy-to-use systems.
What audio retailers need to plan and strategize for to benefit consumers
There is significant ROI in properly demonstrating a system that incorporates Dolby Atmos. Audio is a visceral experience, so giving consumers a real-life example of what one can expect in their homes speaks volumes. This remains an advantage that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have over online stores. Consumers can be treated to what it sounds and feels like to be truly immersed in great audio.
There is an excellent opportunity for consumer electronics retailers to invest in thoroughly educating consumers on the quality and capabilities of modern content being distributed and which content providers are delivering immersive audio up to and including Dolby Atmos to the home, all while pointing out the benefits of having a system in place that can decode and reproduce these soundscapes. Explaining and demonstrating the benefits of immersive audio and Dolby Atmos sound creates opportunities to continually improve a consumer’s system through upgrades in the future.
There is a lot to consider in the audio technology space that can quickly become overwhelming for consumers who want to have quality audio in the home. WiSA can be a one-stop shop for retailers and brands in that they can quickly provide awareness, education, and support that will help better explain and showcase technology and product details directly to consumers.
Consumer electronics brands must remain vigilant and stay ahead of the curve by using the latest technologies to create innovative products. With interoperability and wireless connectivity at the forefront of its expertise, WiSA is ready to help the home cinema industry continue to flourish and create amazing entertainment experiences for enthusiasts all over the globe.
About the Author
Tony Ostrom is the President of the Wireless Audio and Speaker Association (WiSA). His 25-year consumer electronics career has focused on product planning and development, consumer research, technology integration, go-to-market planning, marketing, training, and sales. Before joining WiSA Tony was the Vice President of Product Development at Klipsch Group. He managed multiple categories, including Wireless Home Theater, Wireless Distributed Audio, Bluetooth, and Powered Audio Solutions. Before Klipsch, Tony played key roles in the global launches of Powermat Wireless Charging and the House of Marley audio and lifestyle brand. Tony was Director of Product Development and Marketing at Klipsch Group, where he drove the Mass Retail and Personal Audio categories, and started his career at JL Audio, where he was a Technical Director.
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