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Dolby at IFA

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Dolby didn't have a stand at IFA, but instead kitted out one of the VIP suites with all its latest technology. It was good to see a decent array of surround sound receivers sporting Dolby Digital Plus and the lossless TrueHD codecs. With retail products on show from Pioneer, Denon and Sony I'm starting to get very tempted - I'll definitely be going for a TrueHD system for my next home cinema install to make the most of my ever growing HD DVD and Blu-ray collection.

Dolby was also demonstrating one of Sony's new Bravia TVs with an integrated Dolby Digital Plus decoder. This TV will take in the DD+ signal over HDMI, then output it via an optical digital connection to your 5.1-channel surround sound receiver. This will be particularly useful when TV channels start to use Dolby Digital Plus, allowing consumer to get the best possible audio from broadcast content.

A really cool innovation that I spotted lurking in the Dolby suite was a modified AV cable for an Xbox 360 console. Basically, a company called Freescale has embedded a Dolby Headphone processor into an Xbox 360 AV cable. The upshot being that you can plug a set of headphones in and hear all the Dolby Digital sound mixed into Dolby Headphone.

Having found myself playing Bioshock in the early hours of the morning with the sound turned way down to avoid waking my daughter, I would really appreciate being able to get Dolby Headphone effects from my X360. Of course the key would be to embed a Bluetooth 2.0 EDR transmitter in there as well, then you could use wireless Bluetooth headphones, rather than having a headphone cable trailing to your Xbox.

Finally, Dolby showed me its latest Dolby Volume demo. Dolby Volume is a very cool technology, which applies real time attenuation or amplification to any digital audio stream. As well as being embedded in TVs, Dolby also announced that Dolby Volume will be available in surround sound processors. As well as the obvious benefits of not having adverts blow you off your sofa when they come on, Dolby Volume will also allow you to listen at lower volumes without losing subtle audio effects. I'm planning a full feature on Dolby Volume in the coming weeks, so check back for the full low down.

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