NATO and UNIC release exhibitor requirements for immersive audio

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The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Union Internationale des Cinémas (UNIC) have released cinema exhibitor requirements for immersive sound technologies.

Neither organization currently endorses this emerging technology, whether called “3D” audio, object-based audio or immersive audio—nor any proprietary sound format. However, both organizations believe it is essential that, whatever audio rendering solution an individual cinema may choose, it must be capable of playing whatever movie is released with immersive sound. The Exhibitor Requirements explore two possible paths to that goal.

AMC Theatres’ executive VP of operations and NATO Technology Committee chairman John McDonald said, “It is in nobody’s interest—not exhibitors, studios or vendors—to repeat our experience of the multiple, proprietary and incompatible digital sound formats of the 1990s. While it is critical that we continue to innovate, it is also critical that we work together to implement new technologies in a rational manner that serves all stakeholders. These Exhibitor Requirements represent a first step in that process.”

Kim Pedersen, UNIC VP and chair of the organization's recently established technology committee, commented, “High-quality sound is essential to ensuring an attractive and competitive cinema-going experience. We must, however, ensure that new innovations in sound can be harnessed by all exhibitors. We therefore welcome the fact that our colleagues at NATO have initiated this important dialogue regarding the latest developments around immersive sound.”