Last year at IFA, Dolby showed me its new Dolby Volume system, that maintained a consistently audible volume level, even when different sources had wildly different output levels. Anyone who’s watched TV late at night and been blasted off the sofa when the ads come on, will understand why this technology is cool. It’s also great for listening at low volumes without missing dialogue or subtle effects.
This year I demoed Dolby Volume again, but this time it was present in two retail products, which is pretty good progress in only 12 months. Dolby had the Harmon Kardon AV755 surround amplifier on show, which is equipped with Dolby Volume processing, as is its little brother the AV655.
But it was the Toshiba Regza 42ZV500 that really impressed me, since this is the first TV ever to hit retail using Dolby Volume. Control comes in the form of a simple on/off selection in the OSD, but the result is still very good - Toshiba calibrates the system at the factory and tailors it to the built-in speakers for best effect. Watching the 42ZV500 made me realise that grabbing the remote and turning the sound down when watching TV late at night, could well be a thing of the past.
Unfortunately the Regza 42ZV500 is only available in Japan, and Toshiba UK could give me no indication when TVs will ship with Dolby Volume over here, but it can’t come soon enough if you ask me. I will be trying to get my hands on a 42ZV500 in order to evaluate Dolby Volume in a real world environment, so check back for the full low down.