Dolby is the Xerox of the audio tech industry. In the more than half a century of its existence, the American audio technology company has become synonymous with the product and service it offers, like Xerox for photostat. Recently, the company has been innovating aggressively to enhance its products and services, especially the home audio experience ever since online streaming and over-the-top content has seen an explosion in India. BusinessLine spoke to Ashim Mathur, Senior Regional Director Marketing, Emerging Markets, Dolby Laboratories to understand more about Dolby.
Dolby was set up in 1965 and it entered India in the early 1990s. How’s been the experience so far?
We’ve seen a large adoption of the Dolby Atmos format in films in India. We recently achieved a milestone of 700+ Dolby Atmos screens and 800+ local titles in Dolby Atmos in India. On the consumer side, we endeavour to enhance their entertainment experiences.
On the broadcast side, we have been partnering and working very closely with most broadcasters, from the time of the introduction of HD in India (2011-12). We’ve done extensive work with them - not only enabling HD broadcast with Dolby Audio but also on training and enabling the content creation ecosystem of production companies, post-production studios, sound designers, mixing engineers. We have over 75 HD channels in India which are on air with Dolby Audio 5.1 surround sound.
What about the new trend, over-the-top or OTT streaming platforms?
As far as OTT is concerned, we are also very actively working with several OTT service providers that are now streaming content with our technology. When we look at global majors, our technology is adopted by platforms like Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, to name a few. In India we are working with platforms such as Voot, Sun NXT, YuppTV, Eros Now etc and there’s more that’s currently in the pipeline that will be announced.
We are looking at increasing the adoption of our technology across the content ecosystem including cinema, broadcast and streaming services. Our goal is to continue to increase the adoption of our technology across key services, content and devices. Our specific focus for this year is on streaming services as the OTT industry is growing by the day and original content is seeing increasing importance. We are focusing on integrating our technology such as Dolby Audio, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision in OTT Originals across streaming services that we work with.
Building on years of innovation, we recently introduced Dolby On, a free iOS and Android application designed to make recording and live streaming sound and video with unparalleled audio quality incredibly simple, using nothing but your device. Dolby On empowers creators to make their statement with amazing sound quality, anytime and anywhere.
How do you make sure the quality of Dolby experience remains the same everywhere?
Dolby continually collaborates with artists, the movie industry, audio-video companies, content creators, businesses and device makers worldwide. We also partner with device OEMs, operators and content creators to deliver the ultimate entertainment experience to our audience in cinemas, at home or on the go. We work across the ecosystem, to enable content creation, distribution and devices for playback. On the playback side, billions of devices including smartphones, tablets, TVs, home theatres, AVRs, soundbars, set-top-boxes, smart speakers, PCs, etc. from all leading OEMs are enabled with Dolby technology.
What’s the exact modus operandi here?
We provide an end to end solution, where we work with content creators by providing them with the tools to create content using Dolby technology. On the delivery side, we partner with services and provide them with the tools that enable a spectacular experience, be it at the cinemas, at home in the living room or on the go. We also work on the playback side with OEMs powering their devices with our audio and video technologies, thereby providing a seamless end-user experience.
But you experience media challenges. What works for mobile may not work for cinemas.
Dolby as a brand consciously works on making the experience seamless across all screens. Our key products are Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio. They revolutionise entertainment and communications at the cinema, on the go (usually mobiles), in the home, and at work. Some of our audio technologies -- for example Dolby Atmos for smartphones -- creates a powerful and immersive experience that seems to flow around you. Some of the other features designed for mobile content include improved loudness that makes everything on the device louder and clearer or noise suppression for YouTube, and Facebook video content and enhanced dialogue for podcasts, audiobooks, etc.
We have a strong presence in the cinema business through our audio technology – Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio and also more recently with our video technology – Dolby Vision. We also have a large presence on the consumer entertainment side in television, HD broadcast, sports production and also with streaming services and in content. Dolby’s technology is very widely adopted across technologies, across device categories, including televisions and set-top boxes, DMAs, mobile phones, tablets and many other consumer electronics categories.
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