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Dolby Atmos audio hits moviegoers with sound from all directions

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Dolby has announced what it calls its "most significant innovation in years," with a new theater audio platform that hits you with sound from all directions.

Dolby Atmos
Dolby Atmos

Dolby has unveiled a new audio platform for theaters called Atmos, which it says creates more natural sound that can "envelop" listeners. Atmos uses a process called adaptive rendering, which Dolby says makes it possible to direct sounds as if they were "dynamic objects," making it easier to deliver sound from multiple directions. It can transmit up to 128 simultaneous and lossless audio inputs on up to 64 discrete speaker feeds, including ones placed in the ceiling above the audience. So if a film is showing someone in a car on a rainy day, for instance, it will actually sound like the rain is coming from above. Dolby calls Atmos its "most significant innovation in years," and plans to roll the audio platform out in select "premium" locations in the US, Europe, China, and Japan later this year. A more expansive rollout is expected in 2013, while the New York Times reports that Dolby wants to eventually push the technology to home theaters as well.