Couch potatoes won’t have to reach for the remote as often as before if Dolby Labs is successful in marketing Dolby Volume to TV manufacturers.
The audio-processing technology maintains a consistent volume level when channels are changed, a program transitions to a commercial, a TV’s video input is switched to DVD or when a broadcast source is switched from analog to digital.
Dolby contends its technology doesn’t suffer from audio “pumping” or other sonic artifacts introduced by other volume-control technologies, such as automatic gain control and compression.
Dolby expects to begin deliveries of Dolby Volume code to integrated circuit manufacturers in the first quarter. For now, the company is targeting TV manufacturers, not makers of A/V receivers and preamp/processors. “Dolby Volume is a powerful technology that can be used for a variety of applications,” a spokesman said. “At the moment, Dolby is focused on delivering Dolby Volume to the television manufacturers who will implement the technology in TV sets.” Presumably for Dolby, the TV market is where the perceived volume is.
Dolby Volume is the first technology to measure, analyze and control volume in the psychoacoustic domain, “the same domain in which humans hear,” Dolby said. The technology uses “a complex model of how humans perceive and organize sound” to continually monitor and adjust perceived volume levels, the company said. It enables “any audio source played through the TV’s speakers to match a desired target playback level set by the user.”
The technology also delivers a “robust and vibrant audio experience” at low volume by dynamically compensating for the human ear’s lower sensitivity to bass and treble sounds as volume levels decrease. These adjustments are automatic, Dolby said.
During International CES, Dolby demonstrated the technology, which it described as single ended because it doesn’t depend on audio signal preprocessing at the source or on the transmission of metadata from the source.