Might 2013 be the year of glassless 3D TVs? It's looking that way.
Television makers and the entertainment industry as a whole has been trying to cram 3D viewing down our collective throats (or eye sockets, as it were -- apologies for the unpleasant visuals), but having to don a pair of sometimes goofy looking goggles hasn't proven popular. The other problem with 3D TVs is that they're often limited to strict viewing angles. Sit just a little bit off axis and the 3D effect goes out the window. It doesn't have to be that way, as Dolby demonstrated at its booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Yep, THAT Dolby, the one that's known for sound.
Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video may have gotten all the attention in our recent head-to-head, but one of their competitors now has something that neither of those two streaming video services offers: discrete 7.1-channel surround sound. Dolby has announced that it has entered into an agreement to bring Dolby Digital Plus’s 7.1-channel audio to some of Vudu’s cinematic offerings, starting today with Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”
Native media playback support has been steadily improving in Windows over the years, but what most people don’t realize is that this functionality comes at a price. Dozens of third party licensing agreements are needed to playback all the different forms of audio and video you’re likely to stumble across, and over the years Dolby has benefited quite handsomely from the inclusion of its Dolby Digital Plus pack into Microsoft’s operating systems.
Dolby isn't necessarily looking to improve the quality of your voice while chatting in-game, but it would like your vocals to interact with the gaming environment in a more realistic fashion. That's the idea behind Dolby's Axon technology, a tool the company introduced today at the Austin Game Developers Conference in Austin, Texas.
The basic idea is that this new tool will make it possible to enable surround panning and distance attenuation, so that your character will sound different if, say, he's behind a wall or closed door as opposed to both you and your teammate standing next to each other in the same room. Think of Creative's EAX technology, only this time it's applied to your voice.
Voice fonts come part of the package too, so if you choose a female avatar, you can sound the part no matter what body organs you may or may not have in real life. And according to Dolby, its Axon software has been designed to consume very little bandwidth, capable of supporting thousands of users per server and able to scale across multiple servers.
No customers have yet been announced, and it's consumer interest that might ultimately decide how many developers jump on board. With the increasingly popularity of Skype and stalwarts such as Teamspeak, is the prospect of customized and realistic in-game chat enough to convince gamers to turn off their third-party voice-chat programs?
Think a 30-inch monitor at 2560x1600 resolution is amazing? Then you haven’t seen Merdian’s 810 Reference Video System that gives you a 4096 x 2160 projected image for the low price of $185,000. But we have.
We got to touch and see the 810 up close and personal last week in a private demonstration held at Dolby Laboratories headquarters. Why Dolby? The company has a famous 90-seat theater in its main building in San Francisco that’s actually nicer than most small screens at the multiplex. And how does this monster of a projector perform? Read on to find out!
Click through to read our impressions of the 810 Reference Video System