New York – Dolby Laboratories expects the selection of smartphones and tablets with its Dolby Digital Plus suite of sound-enhancement technologies to grow later this year.
The suite’s key technologies include Dolby Digital Plus surround decoding, surround virtualization of stereo and multichannel content through headphones and embedded stereo speakers, dialog enhancement to ensure dialog is loud and clear, and volume-leveler technology to deliver consistent volume levels when different content or media players are selected.
Several features optimize audio playback through small low-power speakers to deliver more balanced sound with more bass and treble, reduced noise, and reduced distortion, the company said.
Later this year, the suite will appear in more tablets and smartphones in the U.S., said Emmanuel Delorme, Dolby senior product marketing manager. For now, the suite appears in the U.S. in the 7- and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablets, 8- and 10-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 tablets, and select Acer Windows Pro and Android tablets. The suite also appears in mid- to high-end Nokia smartphones.
Outside the U.S., the suite appears in additional mobile devices, he said.
The Dolby Digital Plus surround codec itself without its companion technologies appears in all Windows 8 computers and tablets including Windows RT tablets, Delorme added. That’s because the codec is supported in the Windows 8 and Windows 7 OS.
The expansion of the technology suite to more devices is expected in part because the suite is incorporated in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 wireless chipset. The chipset incorporates 2.3GHz quad-core CPU, 4G LTE, 7.1-channel Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD, and other technologies. Mobile-device makers need only license the Dolby suite to activate it the chipsets.
The post processing technologies work on any two-channel or multichannel soundtrack but are optimized for a soundtrack encoded in Dolby Digital Plus, Delorme noted.
Multiple streaming and download services offer soundtracks encoded in Dolby Digital Plus for playback on mobile devices, Dolby added.
Netflix, Amazon, Cinema Now, Vudu, and the HBO Go stream all of their multichannel titles in Dolby Digital Plus multichannel, a Dolby spokesperson said. Movie downloads from Amazon, Cinema Now, and Vudu are also available in Dolby Digital Plus. iTunes video downloads are available in Dolby Digital 5.1, which is compatible with Dolby Digital Plus decoders, the company said.
Other key features of the Dolby suite include dynamic-range adjustment so listeners can comfortably hear loud explosions as well as whispers, Delorme said. And for playing back home movies, the suite levels out the volume of dialog delivered by the movie’s subjects and by the person holding the videocamera so the subjects’ voices can be heard more clearly.
Dolby also works with mobile-device makers to tune their products via firmware to reduce distortion and broaden the frequency range of tiny built-in speakers, Delorme said.
When a mobile device is connected to a TV via HDMI, the mobile device outputs multichannel surround in up to 7.1 channels of PCM, he noted.