CES 2011: The Dolby PC Entertainment Experience
By John Gaudiosi
LAS VEGAS --- When it comes to playing video games, the visuals – even if they’re in stereo 3D via 3D Vision – are only part of the virtual experience. Dolby Laboratories was on hand at various evening press events like the Digital Experience and Showstoppers, as well as multiple booths on the convention center floor, to showcase its newest audio technologies at CES 2011.
While Dolby is exhibiting its audio technologies integrated into the latest entertainment devices, including the newest laptops, Blu-ray Disc players, smartphones, home theater systems, televisions, and game consoles, PC gamers will be interested in the company’s new Dolby PC Entertainment Experience. This new suite of audio technologies includes Dolby Home Theater v4 and Dolby Advanced Audio v2. Acer will release the first products utilizing these new technologies in its high-end Aspire Ethos consumer multimedia notebooks and its Aspire Z Series all-in-one PCs.
“We’re basically tackling two playback problems with PC audio today with this new suite, including poorly mixed content and hardware limitations like small speakers,” said Derek Pookmeyer, a marketing manager at Dolby Laboratories. “We have a new user interface that comes with this suite to enhance your movie, music, and games, which is really exciting.”
Pookmeyer continued that a lot of times gamers aren’t getting their entertainment content or their gaming in surround sound. The Dolby PC Entertainment Experience provides gamers with a surround sound experience, whether virtual or with something like Dolby Home Theater. With the latest edition of Dolby Home Theater, gamers can connect to their home theater system and enjoy games in a surround sound 5.1 or 7.1 setting.
The Dolby booth in Central Hall features features racing seats and Alienware PCs so attendees can race through the levels of Electronic Arts’ online Need for Speed World as the game designers intended. The Dolby setup features Sennheiser PC 333D headsets to showcase the benefits of Dolby Axon, surround sound voice chat technology that provides superior voice quality, free of clipping, echo, and unwanted noise to increase the thrill of the game. That game also supports NVIDIA 3D Vision technology.
“Dolby has played an essential role in the entertainment ecosystem for more than four decades, working closely with content creators, device manufacturers, and distribution networks to bring a high-quality entertainment experience to consumers,” said Kevin Yeaman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dolby Laboratories. “Consumers today are getting entertainment on new devices — and they should expect a rich, high-definition audio experience, where and when they want it, whether they are using a PC, tablet, or smartphone.”
Dolby had the new Acer 8950G laptop on display, which is enabled with Dolby Home Theater v4. Beyond the PC gaming experience, Dolby supports the ubiquitous high-definition streaming cinematic movie experience across multiple platforms. Dolby featured the latest in streaming media devices including a PlayStation 3 with Netflix and an LG BD590 Blu-ray Disc player streaming VUDU content in Dolby Digital Plus. They also showed Blu-ray content in Dolby TrueHD. These devices play the latest movies, delivering crisp, immersing sound through a 7.1 surround sound system featuring Focal 800V series speakers, powered by a Harman Kardon AVR 3600.
With NVIDIA TEGRA 2 opening the door for more powerful entertainment on the go, Dolby’s booth also featured a Nokia N8 smartphone using Dolby Digital Plus. Moving forward, just as the new super phones that will be making their way into the marketplace over the coming months and years increase the visual fidelity of gaming; TEGRA 2 also enables advanced surround sound experiences for interactive entertainment.
Using an Onkyo TX-NR3007 AVR and Atlantic Technology 5.1 speakers, Dolby re-created — in the living room — the experience of watching a live performance. Expanding on the portable sound experience, Dolby also demonstrated how music can be experienced with the HP Pavilion dv6t laptop featuring Dolby Advanced Audio and the LG Mini smartphone with Dolby Mobile.
One of the themes at CES this year is more connected HD TVs, Blu-ray players and other electronics. Dolby featured a Panasonic DMP-BDT21OP Blu-ray Disc player streaming Netflix TV shows straight from the Web and amplified through a Denon AVR4311C1 into PSB 7.1 speakers. The concept of TV Everywhere has arrived and Dolby showed how TV can be transformed, whether it’s experienced on an Acer Stream phone with Dolby Mobile or a Toshiba Satellite L655 with Dolby Advanced Audio.