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New And Improved: Key Platforms for Sports Sound Debut and Evolve

April 14th, 2015 Posted in Headlines By Dan Daley

Dolby Labs says its object-based audio (OBA) authoring toolkit for broadcast applications will become available at the end of this month. The system consists of the DP590 object-authoring tool and DP591 broadcast processor. The units are on display at the Dolby booth at NAB 2015. No costs associated with the system have been disclosed.

According to J.C. Morizur, senior director, professional solutions and products, Dolby, the authoring tools have been used in test trials of authoring user-personalization functionality, such as language choice and volume levels, by several European sports broadcasters, including MotoGP racing by Spanish broadcaster Dorna and Austria-based Red Bull’s hockey Webcasts. At least one U.S. content distributor has had the authoring tools in tests for sports, he says, adding that he cannot name them at this time.

Looking forward to how OBA will be applied in the U.S. sports landscape, Morizur says it depends on several factors, including the outcome of the ATSC 3.0 standards development and their timetable, which he says has been a more pressing concern for broadcasters at the moment. But he is confident that initial implementation of OBA for sports will likely come first through live streaming rather than over-the-air broadcasting and that the most advanced leagues in the streaming arena at the moment in the U.S. are MLB, NASCAR, and the NHL. He credits Turner Sports and MLB for laying the groundwork for advanced online sports experiences, such as the ability to choose replay angles and other personalized functionality.

In a related move, Avid says that it is working in “an enhanced partnership” with Dolby to streamline the workflow process for mixing Dolby’s OBA format, Atmos, on Avid’s Pro Tools professional-audio platform. Overall, the goal is to include metadata and object connectivity inside Pro Tools, says Tom Graham, worldwide marketing manager, pro audio/pro mixing, Avid. Future changes will include adapting the mixing environment for Pro Tools, which currently can mix up to the 7.1 configuration, for Atmos’s basic “bed” mixes, which are in a 9.1 format, with audio objects on top of that foundational mix, producing soundscapes as complex as 22.1. Pro Tools software will be updated to accommodate additional base-mix channels, although no time frame has been announced.