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Dolby Laboratories

dolby laboratories, dolby laboratories headquarters
Dolby Laboratories, Inc often shortened to Dolby Labs is an American company specializing in audio noise reduction and audio encoding/compression Dolby licenses its technologies to consumer electronics manufacturers


  • 1 History
  • 2 Technologies
    • 21 Analog audio noise reduction
    • 22 Audio encoding/compression
    • 23 Audio processing
    • 24 Video processing
    • 25 Digital cinema
    • 26 Live sound
  • 3 Dolby Surround systems at a glance
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


Dolby Labs was founded by American Ray Dolby 1933-2013 in the United Kingdom in 1965 He moved the company to the United States San Francisco, California in 19672 The first product Dolby Labs produced was the Dolby 301 unit which incorporated Type A Dolby Noise Reduction, a compander based noise reduction system These units were intended for use in professional recording studios

Dolby was persuaded by Henry Kloss of KLH to manufacture a consumer version of his noise reduction Dolby worked more on companding systems and introduced Type B in 1968

Dolby also sought to improve film sound As the corporation's history explains:citation needed

Upon investigation, Dolby found that many of the limitations in optical sound stemmed directly from its significantly high background noise To filter this noise, the high-frequency response of theatre playback systems was deliberately curtailed… To make matters worse, to increase dialogue intelligibility over such systems, sound mixers were recording soundtracks with so much high-frequency pre-emphasis that high distortion resulted

The first film with Dolby sound was A Clockwork Orange 1971, which used Dolby noise reduction on all pre-mixes and masters, but a conventional optical sound track on release prints Callan 1974 was the first film with a Dolby-encoded optical soundtrack5 In 1975, Dolby released Dolby Stereo, which included a noise reduction system in addition to more audio channels Dolby Stereo could actually contain additional center and surround channels matrixed from the left and right The first film with a Dolby-encoded stereo optical soundtrack was Lisztomania 1975, although this only used an LCR Left-Center-Right encoding technique The first true LCRS Left-Center-Right-Surround soundtrack was encoded on the movie A Star Is Born in 1976 In less than ten years, 6,000 cinemas worldwide were equipped to use Dolby Stereo sound Dolby reworked the system slightly for home use and introduced Dolby Surround, which only extracted a surround channel, and the more impressive Dolby Pro Logic, which was the domestic equivalent of the theatrical Dolby Stereo6

Dolby developed a digital surround sound compression scheme for the cinema Dolby Stereo Digital now simply called Dolby Digital was first featured on the 1992 film Batman Returns Introduced to the home theater market as Dolby AC-3 with the 1995 laserdisc release of Clear and Present Danger, the format did not become widespread in the consumer market, partly because of extra hardware that was necessary to make use of it, until it was adopted as part of the DVD specification Dolby Digital is now found in the HDTV ATSC standard of the United States, DVD players, and many satellite-TV and cable-TV receivers Dolby developed a digital surround sound compression scheme for TV series The Simpsonscitation needed

On February 17, 2005, the company became public, offering its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, under the symbol DLB On March 15, 2005, Dolby celebrated its fortieth anniversary at the ShoWest 2005 Festival in San Franciscocitation needed

On January 8, 2007, Dolby announced the arrival of Dolby Volume at the International Consumer Electronics Show It enables users to maintain a steady volume while switching through channels or program elements ie, loud TV commercialscitation needed

On June 18, 2010, Dolby introduced Dolby Surround 71, and set up theaters worldwide with 71 surround speaker setups to deliver theatrical 71 surround sound The first film to be released with this format was Pixar's Toy Story 3 which was later followed by 50 releases using the format As of April 2012, there are 3,600 Dolby Surround 71 movie theaters

In April 2012, Dolby introduced its Dolby Atmos, a new cinematic technology adding overhead sound, first applied in Pixar's motion picture Brave7 In July 2014, Dolby Laboratories announced plans to bring Atmos to home theater The first television show to use the technology on disc was Game of Thrones

On February 24, 2014, Dolby acquired Doremi Labs for $925 million in cash plus an additional $20 million in contingent consideration that may be earned over a four-year period8


Analog audio noise reductionedit

  • Dolby A/B/C/S-Type NR: professional and consumer noise reduction systems for tapes and analog cassettes
  • Dolby SR Spectral Recording: professional four-channel noise reduction system in use since 1986, which improves the dynamic range of analog recordings and transmissions by as much as 25 dB Dolby SR is utilized by recording and post-production engineers, broadcasters, and other audio professionals It is also the benchmark in analog film sound, being included today on nearly all 35 mm film prints On films with digital soundtracks, the SR track is used in cinemas not equipped for digital playback, and it serves as a backup in case of problems with the digital track
  • Dolby FM: noise reduction system for FM broadcast radio Dolby FM was tried by a few radio stations starting with WFMT in 1971 It used Dolby B, combined with 25 microsecond pre-emphasis A small number of models of tuners and receivers were offered with the necessary decoder built in In addition, a few cassette deck models appeared that allowed the deck's internal Dolby B decoder to be put in the line in to line out "pass-through" path, permitting its use with Dolby FM broadcasts The system was not successful and was on the decline by 1974
  • Dolby HX Pro: single-ended system used on high-end tape recorders to increase headroom The recording bias is lowered as the high frequency component of the signal being recorded increases, and vice versa It does nothing to the actual audio that is being recorded, and it does not require a special decoder Any HX Pro recorded tape will have, in theory, better sound on any deck
  • Dolby Advanced Audio: Dolby surround sound, locking preferred volume level, optimizes audio performance for specific PC model and lets turning up the volume to the built-in speakers without distorting the sound9

Audio encoding/compressionedit

  • Dolby Digital also known as AC-3 is a lossy audio compression format It supports channel configurations from mono up to six discrete channels referred to as "51" This format first allowed and popularized surround sound It was first developed for movie theater sound and spread to Laserdisc and DVD It has been adopted in many broadcast formats including all North American digital television ATSC, DVB-T, direct broadcast satellite, cable television, DTMB, IPTV, and surround sound radio services It is also part of both the Blu-ray and the now defunct HD DVD standards Dolby Digital is used to enable surround sound output by most video game consoles Several personal computers support converting all audio to Dolby Digital for output
    • Dolby Digital EX: introduces a matrix-encoded center rear surround channel to Dolby Digital for 61 channel output10 This center rear channel is often split to two rear back speakers for 71 channel output
    • Dolby Digital Plus also known as E-AC-3 is a lossy audio codec based on Dolby Digital that is backward compatible, but more advanced The DVD Forum has selected Dolby Digital Plus as a standard audio format for HD DVD video It supports datarates up to 6 Mbit/s, an increase from Dolby Digital's 640 kbit/s maximum On Blu-ray, Dolby Digital Plus is implemented differently, as a legacy 640 kbit/s Dolby Digital stream plus an additional stream to expand the surround sound, with a total bandwidth of approximately 17 Mbit/s Dolby Digital Plus is also optimized for limited datarate environments such as Digital broadcasting
    • Dolby Digital Live is a real-time hardware encoding technology for interactive media such as video games It converts any audio signals on a PC or game console into the 51-channel Dolby Digital format and transports it via a single S/PDIF cable11 A similar technology known as DTS Connect is available from competitor DTS
  • Dolby E selected hardware Dolby E: professional coding system optimized for the distribution of surround and multichannel audio through digital two-channel post-production and broadcasting infrastructures, or for recording surround audio on two audio tracks of conventional digital video tapes, video servers, communication links, switchers, and routers The Dolby E signal does not reach viewers at home It is transcoded to Dolby Digital at lower datarate for final DTV transmission
  • Dolby Stereo also known as Stereo A: original analog optical technology developed for 35 mm prints and is encoded with four sound channels: Left/Center/Right which are located behind the screen and Surround which is heard over speakers on the sides and rear of the theatre for ambient sound and special effects This technology also employs A-type or SR-type noise reduction, listed above with regards to analog cassette tapes See also Dolby Surround
  • Dolby TrueHD: Dolby's current lossless coding technology It offers bit-for-bit sound reproduction identical to the studio master Over seven full-range 24-bit/96 kHz discrete channels are supported plus a LFE channel, making it 71 surround along with the HDMI interface Theoretically, Dolby TrueHD can support more channels, but this number has been limited to 8 for HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc
  • AAC12
  • aacPlus: A codec developed by the Swedish company Coding Technologies that combines MPEG-2 AAC with Spectral Band Replication The format would be standardized as MPEG-4 HE-AAC Coding Technologies was acquired by Dolby Labs in 200713
  • Dolby Pulse: released in 2009, it is identical to the HE-AAC v2 codec except for the addition of Dolby metadata, which is common to Dolby's other digital audio codecs This metadata "ensures consistency of broadcast quality"14
  • Dolby AC-4 is a lossy audio compression format which can contain audio channels and/or audio objects

Audio processingedit

Dolby system A-type decoder
  • Dolby Headphone: an implementation of virtual surround, simulating 51 surround sound in a standard pair of stereo headphones15
  • Dolby Virtual Speaker: simulates 51 surround sound in a setup of two standard stereo speakers15
  • Dolby Surround, Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, and Dolby Pro Logic IIz: these decoders expand sound to a greater number of channels All can decode surround sound that has been matrixed into two channels; some can expand surround sound to a greater number of speakers than the original source material See the referenced articles for more details on each decoder
  • Audistry: sound enhancement technologies16
  • Dolby Volume: reduces volume level changes17
  • Dolby Mobile: A version of Dolby's surround sound technology specifically designed for mobile phones, notably the HTC Desire HD, LG Arena and LG Renoir
  • Dolby Audio Plug-in for Android: An API packaged as a Java Library that allows Android Developers to take advantage of Dolby Digital Plus Technology embedded into mobile and tablet devices, notably the Kindle Fire HD & HDX and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 series

Video processingedit

  • Dolby Contrast provides enhanced image contrast to LCD screens with LED backlight units by means of local dimming18
  • Perceptual Quantizer PQ, published by SMPTE as SMPTE ST 2084, is a transfer function that allows for the display of high dynamic range HDR video with a luminance level of up to 10,000 cd/m2 and can be used with the Rec 2020 color space19202122 On August 27, 2015, the Consumer Electronics Association announced the HDR10 Media Profile which uses the Rec 2020 color space, SMPTE ST 2084, and a bit depth of 10-bits23 On August 2, 2016 Microsoft released Windows 10 Anniversary update, which supports the HDR10 format with PQ ST 2084 transfer function and Rec2020 color space24
  • Dolby Vision is content mastering and delivery format similar to HDR10 media profile It supports both high dynamic range HDR and wide color gamut ITU-R Rec 2020 and 2100 at all stages from content creation and production to transmission and playback Dolby Vision includes the Perceptual Quantizier SMPTE ST-2084 electro-optical transfer function and supports displays with up to 10,000-nit maximum brightness 4,000-nit in practice It also provides up to 4K resolution and color depth of up to 12-bits backward compatible with current 8-bit and 10-bit displays25 Examples of Ultra HD UHD Dolby Vision is available in TV, monitor, mobile device and theater Dolby Vision content can be delivered on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs2627 over conventional broadcasting, OTT, and online streaming media services28 Dolby Vision metadata can be carried via HDMI interface versions 14b and above29
  • ICtCp provides an improved color representation that is designed for high dynamic range HDR and wide color gamut WCG30 An improved constant luminance is an advantage for color processing operations such as chroma subsampling and gamut mapping where only color information is changed30 ICtCp is based on a modification of IPT called ICaCb31

Digital cinemaedit

  • Dolby Digital Cinema32
  • Dolby 3D33
  • Dolby Atmos34
  • Dolby Cinema35

Live soundedit

  • Dolby Lake Processor36 - as of 2009, all Lake products are owned by Lab Gruppen 37

Dolby Surround systems at a glanceedit

Over the years Dolby has introduced several surround sound systems Their differences are explained below

Decoder Encoder Year Description Channels
Dolby Stereo 1975 Cinema use with optical technology Uses Dolby A for noise reduction Upmix stereo to Surround 40 FL FR with C and MonoSurround matrixed
Dolby Surround Dolby Surround 1982 First Home use Analog Upmix stereo to Surround 30 FL FR and MonoSurround matrixed
Dolby Stereo SR 1986 Cinema use Uses Dolby SR for noise reduction FL FR with C and MonoSurround matrixed
Dolby Pro Logic 1987 Improved Dolby Surround Upmix Stereo to Surround 40 FL FR with C and MonoSurround matrixed
Dolby Digital AC3 1992 Film
1995 Laser Disc
Discrete channel encoder/decoder Pro Logic Decoder can be used for downmixed stereo inputs FL FR C SL SR SUB
Dolby Digital EX/Dolby Digital Surround EX 1999 non-discrete 61 or 71 51 with Center Rear matrixed onto SL & SR FL FR C SL SR with matrixed RearMono SUB non-discrete 71: BackLeft and BackRight
Dolby Pro Logic II 2000 Improved Dolby Pro Logic Upmix Stereo to Surround 51 in either Movie, Music, or Game mode FL FR C SL SR SUB
Dolby Pro Logic IIx 2002 Upmix Stereo or Surround 51 to 61 or 71 in either Movie, Music, or Game mode FL FR C SL SR SUB Left Back and Right Back
Dolby Digital Plus Dolby Media Encoder 2005 Lossy compression codec; 48 kHz sampling frequency, 20-bit word length; supports data rates of 32 kbit/s – 6 Mbit/s, scalable, including 768 kbit/s – 15 Mbit/s on high-definition optical discs, typically, and 256 kbit/s for broadcast and online 10- to 71-channel support for current media applications; extensible to 16 channels; discrete Backward compatibile with Dolby Digital through S/PDIF connection up to 640 kbit/s Supports Dolby Metadata FL FR C SL SR SUB Left Back and Right Back
Dolby TrueHD Dolby Media Encoder 2005 Lossless compression codec; supports 441 kHz to 192 kHz sampling frequency up to 24-bit word length; supports variable data rate up to 18 Mbit/s; maximum channel support is 16 channels as presently deployed Higher bitrate than Dolby Digital Plus Blu-ray Disc channel support up to eight channels of 96 kHz/24-bit audio; six channels 51 up to 192 kHz/24-bit; and two- to six-channel support up to 192 kHz/24-bit maximum bit rate up to the maximum of 18 Mbit/s
Dolby Pro Logic IIz Dolby Laboratories 2009 Upmix Stereo or Surround 51/71 to 71 Height or 91 with the addition of front height channels Based on Dolby Pro Logic IIx L, C, R, Ls, Rs, Lrs Left Back, Rrs Right Back, LFE, Lvh and Rvh

See alsoedit

  • CX analog noise reduction competitor
  • dbx analog noise reduction competitor
  • High Com analog noise reduction competitor
  • DTS digital soundspace competitor
  • Meridian Lossless Packing lossless coding for DVD-Audio
  • SRS Labs surround sound competitor
  • Sony Dynamic Digital Sound digital soundspace competitor


  1. ^ a b c d e "Dolby Laboratories Reports Fiscal 2013 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Financial Results" Dolby Laboratories, Inc 2013 Retrieved 2014-02-25 
  2. ^ a b "FAQ - Dolby Laboratories, Inc" Dolby Laboratories Retrieved January 8, 2015 
  3. ^ "Dolby Laboratories - Sound Technology, Imaging Technology, Voice Technology" Audistrycom Retrieved 2012-04-26 
  4. ^ "ViaLicensing" ViaLicensing Retrieved 2012-04-26 
  5. ^ Sergi, Gianluca 2004 The Dolby Era: Film Sound in Contemporary Hollywood Manchester University Press p 46 ISBN 0719070678 
  6. ^ 1
  7. ^ "Pixar's Brave to debut new Dolby Atmos sound system" BBC News BBC 25 April 2012 Retrieved 2012-04-26 
  8. ^ "Dolby Signs Agreement to Acquire Doremi Labs" Dolbycom 2014-02-24 Retrieved 2014-02-24 
  9. ^ Dolby Advanced Audio v2
  10. ^ "Dolby Digital EX" Dolbycom Retrieved 2012-04-26 
  11. ^ "Dolby Digital Live" Dolbycom Retrieved 2012-04-26 
  12. ^ "AAC Advanced Audio Coding" Dolby Laboratories Archived from the original on 2008-04-06 Retrieved 2008-04-23 
  13. ^ "Dolby Laboratories to Acquire Coding Technologies" Press release Dolby Laboratories 2007-11-08 Retrieved 2008-04-23 
  14. ^ "Dolby Pulse - combining the merits of Dolby Digital and HE-AAC" PDF Retrieved 2008-12-10 
  15. ^ a b "Dolby Headphone with 51 Surround Sound Stereo" Dolbycom Retrieved 2012-04-26 
  16. ^ "Dolby Laboratories - Sound Technology, Imaging Technology, Voice Technology" PDF Audistrycom Retrieved 2012-04-26 
  17. ^ "Dolby Volume" Dolbycom Retrieved 2012-04-26 
  18. ^ "Dolby Debuts New Video Technologies at International CES 2008" Dolby press release Retrieved 2008-03-28 
  19. ^ Adam Wilt 2014-02-20 "HPA Tech Retreat 2014 – Day 4" DV Info Net Retrieved 2014-11-05 
  20. ^ "ST 2084:2014" Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Retrieved 2015-09-21 
  21. ^ Chris Tribbey 2015-07-10 "HDR Special Report: SMPTE Standards Director: No HDR Format War, Yet" MESA Retrieved 2015-09-21 
  22. ^ Bryant Frazer 2015-06-09 "Colorist Stephen Nakamura on Grading Tomorrowland in HDR" studiodaily Retrieved 2015-09-21 
  23. ^ Rachel Cericola 2015-08-27 "What Makes a TV HDR-Compatible The CEA Sets Guidelines" Big Picture Big Sound Retrieved 2015-09-21 
  24. ^ https://msdnmicrosoftcom/en-us/library/mt742103v=vs85aspx
  25. ^ Dolby Laboratories "Dolby Vision" PDF Retrieved 2016-08-24 
  26. ^ Caleb Denison 2016-01-28 "Ultra HD Blu-ray arrives March 2016; here's everything we know" Digital Trends Retrieved 2016-07-27 
  27. ^ Michael S Palmer 2016-02-10 "Hands On First Look: Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player" High-Def Digest Retrieved 2016-07-27 
  28. ^ "Dolby Vision" Dolbycom Retrieved 2012-04-26 
  29. ^ What version of HDMI does Dolby Vision require Also, if Dolby Vision uses dynamic metadata, how can an Ultra HD Blu-ray player pass the proper signal on to an HDR TV using HDMI 20a which supports only static metadata
  30. ^ a b "ICtCp Dolby White Paper" PDF Dolby Retrieved 2016-04-20 
  31. ^ Jan Froehlich; Timo Kunkel; Robin Atkins; Jaclyn Pytlarz; Scott Daly; Andreas Schilling; Bernd Eberhardt 2015-10-18 "Encoding Color Difference Signals for High Dynamic Range and Wide Gamut Imagery" PDF Society for Imaging Sciences and Technology Retrieved 2016-08-26 
  32. ^ "Dolby Digital Cinema" Dolbycom Retrieved 2012-04-26 
  33. ^ Dolby 3D Movie Technology Archived July 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Dolbycom Retrieved on 2013-12-09
  34. ^ Content Creators, Distributors, Exhibitors: Introducing Dolby Atmos™ Dolbycom Retrieved on 2013-12-09
  35. ^ Dolby Cinema the Total Cinema Experience Dolbycom Retrieved on 2014-12-17
  36. ^ "Dolby Lake Processor" PDF Retrieved 2012-04-26 
  37. ^ "About Lake" 

External linksedit

  • Official website
  • Dolby Laboratories companies grouped at OpenCorporates

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