Sony backs Auro-3D over Dolby Atmos on Blu-ray, Pixels deal no laughing matter

posted on Wednesday, 25th November 2015 by Steve May

home cinema  Blu-ray  Auro-3D  Dolby Atmos 

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Is Sony Pictures throwing Dolby Atmos under the bus? The studio is thought to have signed a ten movie deal with Auro Technologies to promote the Auro-3D sound system on select European Blu-ray releases, beginning with the December 7 release of Adam’s Sandler’s Pixels, at the expense of Dolby Atmos. Pixels has an Atmos soundtrack in the US.

This is despite limited availability of Auro-3D enabled hardware. Even Sony’s own as yet unreleased Dolby Atmos AV receiver, the STR-ZA5000ES, does not support Auro-3D.

The development reflects some changes with the Auro-3D proposition. Until recently, Auro-3D has been described as a channel based solution that uses a proprietary tiered speaker layout with optional ceiling channel. However it now includes an object-based variant called AuroMax for use in Digital Cinema which supports audio objects. It’s this which has presumably been used for the Pixels Auro-3D encode.

Pixels Rear Crop

However, Auro Technologies CTO Bert Van Daele told Inside CI that this does not mean the company has adopted the Dolby Atmos speaker configuration. “With the introduction of AuroMax some minor adaptions were made to accommodate some requests of the Digital Cinema market,  but otherwise our configurations are still different from the Atmos ones. We receive many requests about a combined speaker layout for Home Cinemas, capable of playing both Atmos and Auro-3D content. Our statement here is that Atmos content played back over an Auro-3D speaker layout can sound extremely good, why the other way around can only be described as a compromise.”

While few will lament the lack of a Dolby Atmos soundtrack on the Region B release of Pixels, film fans may well be more concerned if more desirable titles are lumped into this curious exclusivity deal.

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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