Dolby Volume: No more inaudible speech and deafening music

If you've ever switched inputs on your TV and been blown away by the incredible difference in volume, Dolby has a new technology that might make your life better

One of the problems with flat-panel televisions is the sound. A huge amount of effort seems to go into making the case look nice, and producing an impressive picture, but this all seems to be to the detriment of the sound. Dolby's Volume technology is setting out to fix some of the problems. Firstly, it can adjust the sound levels so all your inputs match, but it can also improve dialogue audibility too, something important for TVs with small speakers.

Dolby Volume is designed to help reduce the difference in volume between different sound sources and make everything more audible. For example, Dolby told us that when you reduce the volume of a movie, you lose a lot of the low and high frequency sounds. What Dolby Volume does is balance all the sound, so you can hear the dialogue, but still benefit from the sound effects and enjoy a full movie experience.

The good news is that this technology can be integrated into anything that has speakers -- and even some things that don't. Dolby told us that it has working prototypes in TVs and Onkyo AV receivers, so it won't be very long before this technology starts hitting the shops. Dolby Volume hardware doesn't even need a Dolby encoded signal to work -- it analyses anything passed through it, and applies the appropriate correction.

So you'll no longer switch from watching an HD disc to Freeview and have your ears blown into next week by some idiot shouting on the Jeremy Kyle show. Marvellous. -Ian Morris

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