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Pioneer Readies Dolby Atmos AVRs, Speakers

Long Beach, Calif. — Pioneer plans Wednesday to unveil its first A/V receivers that support Dolby Atmos surround decoding and its first speakers that meet Dolby’s specifications for delivering an Atmos surround field.

The Elite-series receivers will be Dolby Atmos upgradable via a firmware update due by the end of the year, the company said. The speakers are designed by engineer Andrew Jones.

Once the products are available, Best Buy’s Magnolia locations will demonstrate and offer them, said Michael Crane, senior director of merchandising for Magnolia Home Theater and Design Centers. More than 340 Magnolia Home Theater locations operate within Best Buy stores nationwide on top of more than 40 Magnolia Design Centers, which provide greater depth in product categories and custom-installation services.

Pioneer will demonstrate the products this week in New York at CE Week, where Onkyo will also demonstrate its first Dolby Atmos electronics and speakers.

Atmos, which has already been deployed in select movies and cinemas, places and moves individual sounds anywhere in a room, including overhead, Dolby has said. The technology creates a more life-like experience in which more individual sounds are heard clearly and distinctly, Dolby previously said. Sounds also pan more smoothly around you, and the surround experience is improved no matter where you sit.

With Atmos, sound studios attach specific X, Y and Z coordinates to each sound to describe that sound’s location in three-dimensional space at any given time. That frees movie studios from the limitations imposed by cramming many sounds into a limited number of discrete channels, Dolby executives previously explained.