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3D TV May Spur Audio Sales: TWICE Panel

New York – The audio industry could
get a much-needed boost from 3D TV, especially if a new effort to match soundtracks
more precisely to onscreen action bears fruit.

The initiative, spearheaded by SRS
Labs, will move beyond current surround sound to create an immersive field that
is the aural equivalent of 3D images, explained Alan Kraemer, the company’s
chief technology officer.

Kraemer announced the new audio
format, and plans to create an industry alliance to develop it during a panel at


, at the Roosevelt Hotel, here this morning. The event was presented
by TWICE and fellow publications from parent company NewBay Media —
Broadcasting & Cable, Digital Video, Multichannel News, TV Technology and

 “We’re working on better sound rendering on
the production level to create a more immersive sound field that correlates
much better with the depth in the image,” he said.

The first 3D TVs to feature the new
format are expected to appear next year, Kraemer said.

Fellow panelist Mike Fasulo,
executive VP and chief marketing officer at Sony Electronics, said 3D TV
presents a “huge opportunity” for audio, and that he is amazed by the lack of
audio attachment sales.

“The whole experience is audio


video,” he said. “Hearing is one of
our main senses, and it has to be a part of the 3D experience.”

Ross Rubin, industry analysis
director of The NPD Group, agreed that 3D opens up audio opportunities, but said
surround-sound penetration still hovers around 30 percent of homes, compared
with 65 percent for HDTV.

Bob Perry, senior VP of Panasonic,
acknowledged that audio is a “tougher sell” than HDTV because the consumer has
to experience it, and because HD has become the default TV format. But
Blu-ray’s vast capacity is the key to providing multiple audio formats and
capabilities, he noted.

Kraemer said the current audio
stream doesn’t hold enough information to provide 3D sound. “But when the audio
is there, rendering is adaptable and you can use it in multiple environments.”

The panel, dubbed “

Consumer Experience,”

also included Sixth Avenue Electronics operations VP
Tom Galanis, HDNet VP Jeff Cuban, and was moderated by TWICE executive editor
Greg Tarr.