Paramount Pictures will release the first Blu-ray movie featuring Dolby Atmos this month. The Transformer 4 movie is the first to feature Dolby’s Atmos technology promising an ‘unlimited’ amount of soundtracks.
Dolby Atmos is the first audio format based on audio objects rather than channels. In Dolby Atmos, any sound such as a helicopter, a blaring car horn, a yelling child, can exist as an independent audio object, free of channel restrictions. It can be placed and moved anywhere, including anywhere overhead.
Amplifiers suitable for Atmos-soundtracks make it possible to change surround sound “on the fly” based on the used speakers. In theory Atmos soundtracks can contain unlimited channels but in practice they are limited to 64 speaker feeds. The tracks are backwards compatible with the lossless Dolby True HD format.
Dolby Atmos is in use in movie theatres for some time already. Last year about three hundred theatres were equipped with Dolby Atmos. Usually a Dolby 7.1 placement is used and 64 channels are available for sound effects.
Lately more and more feature films contain a Dolby Atmos soundtrack and several electronics manufacturers including Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer and Yamaha have announced compatible audio equipment. Their equipment should make the format available to more consumers. For some audio hardware it should even be possible to add Dolby Atmos support with an upgrade.
To make stimulate Atmos adoption, several publishers decided to add Atmos soundtracks to Blu-ray movies, when available. The title Transformers: Age of Extinction, a production of Paramount Pictures is the first Blu-ray movie with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. The Transformers movie will be released on the 30th of September. According to the movie studios there should be more Blu-ray movies released with an Atmos soundtrack in the following months.