Diving deep into Dolby: In dialog with Sameer Seth and Jayant Shah at Dolby Laboratories India

Diving deep into Dolby: In dialog with Sameer Seth and Jayant Shah at Dolby Laboratories India

The pandemic has been rearing its ugly head over the previous two years inflicting people to remain residence and eat content material voraciously. Content material, nonetheless, is now not primarily consumed in film theatres and on massive residence theatres however equally, or extra so, on smaller type issue gadgets resembling smartphones and tablets. Our smartphones and tablets are more and more changing into succesful content material consumption machines, and Dolby has performed a pivotal position on this. From Dolby Atmos to Dolby Imaginative and prescient to the brand new child on the block – Dolby Music, all have made their method to quite a few telephones available on the market as we speak. A few of them priced at as little as ₹15K. To know extra about Dolby’s journey via the pandemic, how Dolby applied sciences have grow to be more and more pervasive, and extra, we delved into dialog with Sameer Seth, Director, Advertising and marketing-India, Dolby Laboratories; and Jayant Shah, Director Apps & Options Engineering, Rising Markets at Dolby Laboratories. 

Q. For the reason that pandemic, folks have been shifting away from the theatres and consuming extra content material of their dwelling rooms on TVs or on smartphones, on the go. What has Dolby noticed on this regard? Any statistics to share? How has Dolby ready for this shift?

Sameer: So the pandemic, actually, has had a change in the way in which shoppers eat content material, particularly in India. What we have seen in numerous shopper research that we have executed through the pandemic and post-pandemic is that Indian shoppers, greater than ever earlier than, have began realising the significance of high quality audio and high quality visible expertise. They’re more and more searching for a greater expertise, whether or not it is of their front room, whether or not it is on the go. And now that they are again at work, even at work. So, speaking about shopper research, we discovered that what the shoppers are undoubtedly doing through the pandemic is connecting with content material much more than they’ve linked prior to now. So, after I spend extra time with content material, I am insisting on a greater expertise. And for that, I am now a shopper who’s keen to improve.

Everything you need to know about Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision and Dolby Music

We did a latest shopper examine Counterpoint on content material consumption in the lounge. We did one with CMR on the smartphone facet. So, each these research are literally pointing in direction of a two-pronged improve that the Indian shopper has executed as a result of she or he is connecting extra with content material.  One, by upgrading the machine for a greater expertise. So, , if I had an outdated TV, I am upgrading to the newest tv, which provides me a greater expertise. On the identical time, I am upgrading from a single machine SD plan to a UHD Dolby Atmos or Dolby Imaginative and prescient-enabled plan on a streaming service. So, it is each gadgets and content material and that is what we have seen the shoppers doing off late.

Q. With regard to Dolby, what gadgets do folks must expertise the know-how? Is it considerably restrictive nonetheless or is it extra ubiquitous than we notice?

Sameer: Dolby experiences can be found to shoppers in each facet of leisure they eat. Beginning with cinema, you may eat Dolby content material while you stroll right into a cinema close to you. While you speak about India particularly, there are greater than 800 Dolby Atmos-enabled screens. You possibly can watch them in multiplexes, you may expertise the know-how in single theatres. It is pretty common within the nation. The second is, in fact, the lounge. In the lounge, there are a number of gadgets there the place you may get the Dolby expertise – the tv, a soundbar or an AVR. You may have good audio system that ship the expertise. So from a front room perspective, these are the experiences that customers are searching for and already consuming. On the go, you may have smartphones. I imply, India is a mobile-first nation. We eat a whole lot of content material on cell, on the go. Customers are connecting and consuming Dolby-enabled content material, whether or not it is AV content material or whether or not it is streaming music or podcasts, with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Imaginative and prescient. Then comes the subsequent situation, which is at work or working from residence. There are PCs that include Dolby know-how so you may eat each AV content material or leverage our Dolby Voice conferencing resolution. There are numerous gadgets on which shoppers can expertise Dolby. 

What’s core to us as an organization is that we work with your complete ecosystem. That is vital to know as a result of we work with content material creators on one facet to allow them to make use of our know-how for higher storytelling. The content material creator at all times desires to ship his or her content material, which is closest to his authentic intent. And that is what the Dolby know-how, each on the visible and the audio facet, does. The second facet is supply which is the place we work with a whole lot of streaming companies and broadcast companies. They use our know-how for delivering content material. And the third factor within the ecosystem is playback. That is the place gadgets are available in. It is obtainable in all these eventualities. There’s a whole lot of content material now in India, each on streaming and on broadcast. There are a whole lot of genres of content material obtainable and there are a number of gadgets to eat that Dolby-enabled content material.

Q. What number of streaming companies are supported by Dolby and is there a plan to have extra streaming companies within the Dolby ecosystem?

Sameer: I believe it’s no shock that we Indians love the content material. We join with content material much better than anything. We work with a whole lot of streaming companies, each international and Indian streaming companies. So, you may get a Dolby expertise on international companies like Netflix, Apple TV Plus or Amazon Prime Video. As for Indian companies, there are fairly just a few companies that ship Dolby resembling Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5 and Hoichoi. Hoichoi is our newest associate, who we labored with very lately, to allow their content material with Dolby Atmos. So sure, there’s a whole lot of momentum. There are some companies on the AV facet. Now, speaking additionally in regards to the audio facet of the expertise on streaming, we work with Earshot for podcasts. On the music facet, we’ve Apple Music and Hungama Music. So, each international and Indian companies at the moment are streaming their music in Dolby Atmos. So, the Indian shopper is spoiled for selection. There’s a whole lot of content material on the market in Dolby.

Q. Talking of streaming music and even creating content material, what in regards to the content material creators? Have they got to have particular gear to have the ability to create Dolby content material on their finish? 

Everything you need to know about Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision and Dolby Music

Sameer: What the pandemic has additionally executed is that the buyer can also be the creator. So from a creator’s perspective, Dolby Atmos Music is a know-how that the creator can use simply. The headphone combine may be executed via a quite simple set-up. After all, there isn’t a restrict with regards to a studio combine expertise. However the know-how helps a Dolby Atmos combine that you could even do via a PC at residence, you are able to do the combo over a headphone and you’ll launch it and that is the fantastic thing about the know-how. So for the creator, each the codecs can be found. She or he can create it on the laptop computer, headphones, or in a studio.

Q. What about Dolby Atmos for music? So what sort of reception has it obtained, particularly in India, and the way has the know-how improved since its launch?

Everything you need to know about Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision and Dolby Music

Sameer: While you speak about music, it is once more a whole ecosystem join that one has to take action. We now have a number of artists which have created music in Dolby Atmos because the time we launched Dolby Atmos Music in India. And the journey began with nobody higher than A. R. Rahman who’s executed a number of tracks and albums in Dolby Atmos. Different Indian artists as properly, whether or not it’s songs from the movies or it is their very own singles or albums that they are releasing in numerous languages now in Dolby Atmos. So there’s a whole lot of momentum that one has seen. We work with the artists on one facet, we work with the labels on the opposite facet as a result of, the labels are, once more, a really, very vital a part of the ecosystem. We work with the combo engineers, these are the magicians who actually convey out the expertise. So it is a full ecosystem, kind of a piece that we do. So proper from artists to labels, to combine engineers to studio technicians. We kind of work with them and we allow them. So there’s a whole lot of content material, a whole lot of Indian Dolby Atmos Music content material out of India obtainable on streaming companies. 

Q. We skilled a little bit of Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Dolby Atmos in your studio. How do they work in tandem with one another throughout totally different gadgets? 

Sameer: I believe there are two components to the query. One, Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Dolby Atmos. So Dolby Imaginative and prescient is a visible know-how from Dolby. It is an HDR know-how and one can expertise it on totally different gadgets. It is obtainable within the cinemas, not in India, however outdoors of India. You get Dolby Imaginative and prescient expertise in your televisions, in your telephones, in your PC. So it is a visible know-how which provides you higher color, brighter brights and darker darks. So, , the brights are 40 instances brighter and the darks are ten instances darker. So that you see a greater dynamic vary of colors and distinction. In order that’s a visible know-how. Dolby Atmos is an object-based audio know-how the place the content material creator creates the combo by treating sound as objects. It is actually one thing that can transport you into the expertise that can convey you nearer to the character and the tales you’re keen on. So the mixed expertise of Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Dolby Atmos is the very best expertise that the buyer can get. The expertise is accessible in the lounge, in cinemas, on the go, at work or working from residence, so it’s ubiquitous.

Q. From what I do know, there are three codecs utilized in Dolby Atmos that are Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby MAT. Are you able to delve into the main points of those codecs?

Jayant: Dolby Digital Plus, primarily, is a lossy excessive compression codec. I believe Dolby Digital is the one everybody’s acquainted which is now fairly outdated and that had bitrate limitations. There was a sure restrict to compression that we might apply utilizing that. Dolby Digital was intrinsically invented for cinema and when it served the aim of cinema, we stopped innovating briefly. The identical factor was tailored for broadcast, just about, within the early days. Dolby Digital Plus happened from the streaming period. It has higher compression and it has, theoretically, a bigger channel capability. So Dolby Digital was restricted to five.1. In idea, Dolby Digital Plus can do 13.1. So Dolby Digital Plus, we tailored it as a result of it was just about universally in lots of, many gadgets. Once we launched Atmos, we had to determine a means of preserving it suitable due to the large machine deployment. So, we retrofitted Atmos with somewhat little bit of intelligent engineering and the identical codec can carry Atmos. However, it’s, in essence, a compressed lossy codec for streaming and broadcast. TrueHD and MAT, alternatively, are very very top quality. TrueHD is lossless utterly. There isn’t any lossy compression. Once more, TrueHD got here out with Blu-ray, just about. That was the default lossless codec on many Blu-rays. Not all, however many. And Dolby MAT then turned a transport mechanism to go from what we name a supply machine to a seat machine, a set-top field linked to a TV, for instance. So, you may decode Atmos in a set high field after which over HDMI 2.x, you may stream uncompressed audio. So, in case your TV does not have a decoder, you may truly decode Atmos into uncompressed audio after which transport it with metadata utilizing a know-how like MAT.

How the set-top field is aware of what the TV can render or what the downstream machine is mainly utilizing EDID and numerous signalling strategies to inform the set-top field what the aptitude of the machine is. Then it would do the render. MAT lets you transfer spatial audio into that machine after which use metadata, which is the item metadata, so we are able to transport that throughout.

Q. How is the rendering occurring in your finish by way of AI or algorithms, in order that it is aware of what machine it is enjoying on and adjusts accordingly?

Jayant: So in channel-based conventional mixing, stereo for instance or 5.1, the combo engineer mainly does the render. She or he assigns sound to particular audio system or channels. So when you do a 5.1 combine, you possibly can downmix it, , however even the downmix is kind of inflexible, it follows sure guidelines. You possibly can downmix 5.1 to say stereo or mono, that’s it. You possibly can’t do fancy configurations like three or 4 audio system. In an object-based sound format like Atmos, this task of sound to the speaker does not occur. What occurs is that the combo engineer is mainly working with a bunch of objects. So, there are specific static sounds assigned by the combo engineer. She or he has a sure speaker configuration which he’s monitoring on, after which he simply assigns sounds to areas in a room or a 3D house. So, he can place a sound above his head to the left or be simply behind him utilizing a joystick form of a mechanism with a visible show. It exhibits you the place the sound is bodily positioned as a visible illustration. So, how huge that sound is, how loud it’s and the place it’s positioned are all that you simply want. There isn’t any allocation of any speaker. What you document is the sound, its location and significance, proper? All of that is transmitted with metadata. The buyer could have various kinds of speaker configurations. So it might be two audio system, a TV, a soundbar, or a house theatre. So the sound system at residence is aware of the speaker configuration and due to this fact is aware of how finest to render these coordinates. After which it does it. So, in impact, it turns into impartial of the audio system. That is the fantastic thing about immersive techniques Like Atmos.

Q. What are a number of the challenges that you simply face when driving immersive leisure experiences?

Sameer: I would not say challenges as such. Let me simply issue it from a shopper standpoint. I believe there’s a whole lot of work we do via our companions. Not a problem, however a chance I see is to coach the buyer on the way to get the Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Atmos expertise. That is the place we work very intently with our companions, when it comes to driving consciousness and driving schooling. We work with companions on the way to get that have by doing an AB kind of comparability, educating them, creating how-to movies and issues like that. So we use a whole lot of these touchpoints with the companions, whether or not it is at retail, on-line, or digital. However I’d say that’s extra a chance than a problem actually. However sure, we do a whole lot of work with our companions to coach shoppers.

Q. What sort of certifications do smartphone OEMs need to undergo to have their content material Dolby-Atmos licensed?

Everything you need to know about Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision and Dolby Music

Jayant: So as soon as an OEM indicators the license, they get entry to our equipment, which is the software program and a bunch of documentation on the way to implement it. As soon as they’ve that entry, they go ahead with the implementations. A part of the documentation is in regards to the check process with the check equipment together with it. They undergo that check. Now, there are totally different ranges. If it is a new, first-time implementer, then they’ve the choice to ship a pattern to us, to our check labs. We now have labs in China, and we’ve them within the U.S. So, we do the exams and we give them a check report and in the event that they’ve handed the exams, they’re good to go. If issues are usually not working the way in which they need to be working, then we ship them a correction and we are able to have them with that. The implementers who’re extra seasoned or older licensees, already know the way to check. They do some exams and ship us a check report. We assessment it and primarily based on that we a clearance. Each machine or each new mannequin that comes out has to undergo the testing methodology.

Q. We have seen some smartphones as little as ₹15,000 and even  ₹10,000 come outfitted with Dolby Atmos. How do you match the know-how or the algorithms into such a small type issue like tablets and smartphones? 

Jayant: So, at a {hardware} degree, we combine with the chipset. The coding, the decoders, and all of the magic is current contained in the chipset. When it comes to type elements, we need to democratise this. There isn’t any kind of restriction saying solely the actually high-end telephones can help Dolby Atmos. It’s in our curiosity to go as broad base as attainable, so we do not restrict the {hardware}. Clearly, generally, there is a detrimental facet. For example, you want at the very least two audio system. So, , there are some minimal specs which can be required. However past that, we do not limit. After which once more, there’s the physics of {hardware}. So, physics can restrict you up to a degree. Our intent is to get the very best out of that {hardware}, no matter is accessible. To that finish, there are some OEMs that come to us proper on the design stage to start with, which turns into simpler as a result of then we assist them with the acoustic design. The number of audio system, that form of stuff. So, clearly, we do not need to limit the {hardware} past the minimal requirement. We have a look at doing the very best.

Worth is just not actually the factors. There are televisions doing Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Dolby Atmos as little as ₹15,000. After which, there’s the actually high-end stuff. I do not assume the worth is known as a defining factor anymore. That notion of Dolby possibly solely catering to premium is just not the truth now. The truth is that we’ve it at just about each worth level.

Q. So, what are a number of the future plans for Dolby as theatres reopen? Will the main target shifts to shift there, or will Dolby proceed investing in at-home experiences or on-the-go experiences as they’ve executed through the pandemic?

Sameer: We imagine as a know-how, each Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Dolby Atmos, ship the very best expertise that the machine is able to. From our perspective, we imagine that this expertise is accessible to the shoppers in numerous codecs, whether or not it is cinemas or on-the-go or at residence. And there is a lot for us to cowl. I believe there isn’t a substitute for cinemas. I believe we Indians love the flicks and we’d proceed to look at them in cinemas. With cinemas now opening up, there are a whole lot of theatrical releases which have began developing in numerous languages. So sure, there is no substitute for that. However on the identical time, I believe the pandemic, particularly, has had us join extra with content material whether or not it’s in the lounge or on smartphones. And we are going to proceed to eat much more content material in a extra devoted method as a result of we are going to need it in the very best format. We might need to attempt totally different genres of content material and that consumption goes to proceed.

Q. Proper now we’re dwelling within the period of 5G and the Metaverse. So what are Dolby’s ideas right here and what’s the plan for the long run in these eventualities?

Sameer: The know-how needs to be one thing that ought to help the place ever the buyer strikes. For us, we are going to proceed to innovate. We’ll proceed to work with the ecosystem to ship experiences the place the buyer goes. So, nothing particular on these codecs to share. However yeah, we imagine that the buyer is one thing that we are going to observe.

Q. Perhaps we might see Dolby within the Metaverse, proper?

Sameer: I would not say that. I would not deny it. I would not say sure as properly. However the place the buyer goes, the know-how ought to simply allow a greater expertise is what we imagine.

Q. As somebody who enjoys sound and music and has been on this trade for many years, what do you assume is the pedestal for good sound?

Jayant: As a tech man, , the very first thing I have a look at is, in all probability, the response of the system. Individuals can go utterly loopy simply specification sheets, at the very least, engineers can. I’d search for the low-frequency response, which is why a whole lot of techniques fail and the highs, persons are generally obsessive about this 20 kHz vary. Actually, there isn’t a sound above 12 kHz, 13 possibly? So, the excessive frequencies needs to be good, good and clear. However I do not significantly go for this. However, low frequencies, sure. I just like the lows to be good and tight and it is tougher to get low frequencies executed proper. You can’t do low frequencies with small woofers. I imply, you may play with it, you may design with enclosures, issues like that. But when you do not have a pleasant huge diaphragm to push the air, you’re not going to get actually nice lows.

The opposite factor is, do not buy a speaker system or any music system with out listening to it. And do not buy it with out listening to your personal music. Don’t hearken to the demo the salesmen play you. Don’t hearken to demo gear or demo tracks as a result of they’re designed to reinforce or exhibit the very best options. Take heed to stuff that you simply’re intimately accustomed to and that provides you with a good suggestion of the way it ought to sound. That’s the holy grail.

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