Dolby Laboratories has announced what it describes as its “latest innovation” in the TV space. It’s called Dolby Atmos FlexConnect.
And Chinese electronics company TCL will be the first to implement the feature in its TVs, though you’ll have to wait a while. Dolby Atmos FlexConnect isn’t expected until to launch until 2024.
What FlexConnect looks to do is “seamlessly” pair a TV’s sound system with external wireless system to unlock a “more extensive and immersive Dolby Atmos sound experience”. Once connected it will “intelligently” optimise the sound for any room and speaker set-up.
As part of the launch with its 2024 TV line-up, TCL will be launching a line of accessory wireless speakers to go with the Dolby Atmos FlexConnect feature.
The main gist about FlexConnect is to allow speakers to be positioned anywhere in a room without having to worry about “whether they are placed perfectly”. It’s described as easily adaptable, with the possibility to add more devices should it be desired.
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Once the speaker set-up is calibrated to a room, it is able to deliver a Dolby Atmos sound tailored to the environment the speakers are in for a more immersive performance, with the sound dynamically optimised based on the capabilities and spread of those speakers in a room.
It sounds similar to what Samsung has been doing with its wireless Q Symphony soundbars and LG’s WOWCAST enabled speakers, but the possibility of adding more speakers and positioning them anywhere in a room adds a flexibility and convenience those sound systems haven’t yet offered.
It’s too early for news on the price or which TCL TVs FlexConnect will appear on, but Dolby and TCL will be demonstrating the technology at the IFA 2023 electronics event taking place in Berlin from the 1st – 5th September.
The future for home entertainment is moving towards wireless
HDMI ports have been the bane of many a home cinema watcher. Whether it’s video and audio pass-through not working, a mess of cables trailing from the back of your AV system, or issues with handovers that mean having to work out which device is playing up, when it goes wrong it’s not always easy to figure what, exactly, has gone wrong.
Speaking for myself, I don’t mind wired connections. I like the knowledge of knowing that I’m not going to experience interference or a stuttery performance. A wireless connection can’t always be counted on to be consistent.
But for some, the convenience of wireless will be too tempting, and several electronics brands have already made motions to incorporate wireless support into their home cinema speakers. Sonos has been itching at the bit to move into the wireless realm with its soundbars, Samsung and LG have soundbars that can connect to their TVs via wireless means, while Sony’s 360 Reality Audio tech is a similar proposition. There’s the WiSA standard that the likes of Bang & Olufsen support, allowing speakers to connect to TVs through a high quality wireless connection.
By the look of what Dolby is bringing to the table with FlexConnect, the intention is to make it adaptable and scalable for whatever your needs are. We still don’t know anything what the performance will be like, but for those who want a simplified home cinema experience, tech like this could be what the industry converges on going forward.