Dolby Laboratories will demonstrate at CES next month a new headphone technology that creates a multichannel sound environment through stereo headphones.
Dolby Headphone uses technology licensed from the Australia-based Lake DSP, which developed a system for eliminating the lag or latency between sound and video image that takes places when multichannel sound is played through a stereo headset, said Larry Poor, Dolby's technology marketing director.
Dolby Headphone can be built into any audio, video or computer product that has a headphone jack. Poor said that Dolby has developed three DSP environments: DH-1, a reference listening room; DH-2, a room optimized for music; and DH-3, a room that imitates a concert hall or movie theater.
Products containing the technology are expected to be out in the first half of 2000, contingent on when the integrated chip vendors decide to start building the chips.
The first product slated to be released is a notebook computer. The Dolby Headphone technology for computer products is software based and does not require a special integrated chip to work, he said, so computer vendors can move ahead faster. In addition, the software version will not add any cost to the computer.
Poor would not say which company would include the technology.
Audio and video products will cost more to manufacture with the new technology, but Dolby will not know exactly what the price delta will be until chip vendors design and start producing the processors.
Initial consumer education will consist of in-store demos similar to what took place with Dolby Pro Logic when it came to market in the early 1990s.