The influential Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) has been holding its annual Technical Conference & Exhibition in Hollywood this past week. One of the topics discussed was how – and which – new immersive cinema audio technology might be adopted as the next movie ‘standard’. Two contenders are already being talked about, Dolby’s Atmos, and the rival DTS Multi-Dimension Audio (MDA). MDA’s thinking is backed by Barco for its Auro 11.1 technology.
SMPTE is looking to urgently establish a new committee, and to hold its first meeting before the end of this year.
The EBU’s Hans Hoffmann, who is also SMPTE’s board of directors’ standards VP, was quoted by The Hollywood Reporter as saying the new committee would examine whether there were harmonisation possibilities in the competing suggestions. “We respect that there are different approaches, but when it comes to interoperability between sound systems, we should try to achieve harmonisation that doesn’t create a burden for users. That’s the aim.”
Hoffmann added that while SMPTE’s effort is aimed at cinema, it could have an impact on broadcast production and distribution. DTS, for example, is also recommending its MDA proposals as a potential standard for broadcasting and this is being discussed at the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).