Dolby and Motorola Partner to Defeat Loud Commercials

Posted Wed Jan 6, 2010 at 01:50 PM PST by Mike Attebery

Dolby and Motorola are working to protect your delicate little ears!

by Michael S. Palmer

Upfront side-tangent: Dolby wishes to extend an invitation to all High-Def Digest readers planning to attend CES this week in Las Vegas. Because the reference quality Blu-ray featured Dolby TrueHD, this year’s Dolby booth is ‘Star Trek’ themed, featuring elements from the film’s set. Stop by to hear some sweet sound, “bring your captain’s costume, AND get your picture taken on the set.” Nerds. Just kidding, I wish I could go too.

And now… The news:

While the bureaucrats on Capital Hill fight to dispatch loud commercials legally, sound gurus Dolby Laboratories and cable set-top box manufacturer Motorola have united to bring Dolby Volume technology to current and future High-Def cable boxes (both HD DVRs and HD stand-alone units).

Dolby Volume not only allows listeners to enjoy reference-level quality sound at decibels that won’t make you deaf (what!?!!), but it also acts as a “source leveler.” Meaning, in addition to, “so long, loud commercials” (though I still do want a Snuggie), Dolby Volume also equalizes variances between the channels themselves, like those always disastrously loud or unimaginably quiet cable-access feeds. If, by chance, you also happen to be in the market for a new Audio/Video receiver, be on the lookout for the Dolby Volume logo there as well. Per Dolby’s own Craig Eggers, the best use of Dolby Volume will be to utilize the technology “as far downstream as possible” (a.k.a. closest to your speakers). Pick up a Dolby Volume enhanced receiver, and not only will changing channels be easy on the ears, but so will transitioning from any potential mixture of high fidelity (Blu-ray) and low quality (looking at you, Internet) audio sources.

Check your Motorola-brand cable set-top box model number to see if it’s one that can be updated (“DCX3400 HD-DVR” and “DCX3200 HD” set-top box) by your service provider. Or, if you need to swap an older model out (an option that is usually free of charge, and easy to do, if you live close enough to one of your service provider’s branch offices) make sure to take home a “DCX700”, a “DCX3300,” or a model listed above. Then simply head into the settings menu, enable Dolby Volume, and enjoy.

Happy listening, and here’s the official press release.

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Tags: Industry Trends, Dolby, Michael S. Palmer (all tags)