Dolby Atmos’ approaching FlexConnect might streamline wireless house theater audio

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Dolby Laboratories today revealed Dolby Atmos FlexConnect, a function with the potential to add flexibility and simpleness to home theater audio setups. The business says FlexConnect permits supporting TVs to enhance Dolby Atmos audio output amongst the television’s speakers and paired wireless speakers of any brand. Currently, Dolby is only revealing the feature with upcoming TCL TVs, but it might broaden in other places.

FlexConnect is about adjusting to individuals’s audio setups, with factors to consider for things like speaker count and placement. The upcoming feature aims to boost Atmos audio in situations where speaker positioning is limited due to barriers like space furniture, outlet, or size areas.

According to Dolby, FlexConnect will indicate users can hear the exact same experience regardless of where they’re being in the space, which audio is fine-tuned based on each speaker’s place and capabilities.

Ars Technica asked Dolby to elaborate on this, and a business representative informed us:

After each speaker is positioned, the television will undergo an automated calibration using acoustic mapping, [using television microphones], to comprehend the area of each speaker. The TV then smartly and seamlessly enhances the sound image after analyzing this information combined with info the TV can gather on each speaker’s acoustic capabilities. Together, this details permits the television to change the rendering of each speaker to optimize the sound to guarantee listeners are enjoying a terrific audio experience.

An example of how FlexConnect could adjust audio based upon speaker capabilities is with low frequencies, which numerous TVs struggle with. If there’s a more capable speaker linked, the TV’s speakers might “offload the bass to these speakers, which frees up power to designate to other parts of the frequency spectrum,” Dolby’s spokesperson stated.

“This could enable the TV speakers to allocate more power to dialogue, guaranteeing the best mix of bass and intelligibility,” the associate stated.

Dolby also supplied an example of how FlexConnect might adapt audio based on speaker place. If a user puts two wireless speakers in the back of the space, FlexConnect “will put more of the audio load onto the television speakers so that the TV speakers cover the front soundstage and the discussion.” However if the wireless speakers were in the front of the space, the TV/center speakers would focus on discussion.

FlexConnect can use a more platform-agnostic experience than similar TV functions, such as Samsung Q-Symphony, which synchronizes audio with supporting Samsung television speakers and Samsung soundbars, or LG Wow Orchestra, which synchronizes audio with supporting LG TVs and LG soundbars, or Sony’s Acoustic Center Sync, which (I think you understand where we’re opting for this) integrates supporting Sony television speakers with an external Sony soundbar or audio system and declares to help sound to “match exactly what’s shown on the screen, exactly where the character is standing in the scene.” Some, like Q-Symphony, even require an HDMI or optical cable-connected soundbar.

It could eventually simplify house theater audio setups for mainstream users if Dolby handles to get FlexConnect shared throughout lots of Television brands. At present, though, FlexConnect is for Atmos audio, and only TCL’s 2024 TV lineup has actually dedicated to supporting FlexConnect. Unless other TV brands carry out FlexConnect, its reach is limited. The function likewise depends on central television speakers, which might have differing quality among models, though you might supplement that with external speakers.

Dolby said it will demo FlexConnect at the IFA 2023 trade convention in Berlin that begins this Friday.

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