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method77

MP3 creator returns with 3D sound

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Karlheinz Brandenburg, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Media Technology, along with a team of co-developers, is in Los Angeles this week showing off his new "Iosono" technology to representatives of Hollywood studios and giants including Disney. Brandenburg is credited with much of the work leading to the MP3 format, also developed at Fraunhofer.

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He and his team are touting their new product as true "three dimensional" audio, which can give the impression of, for example, a horse galloping through the center aisle of a movie theater, or pinpoint a noise so that it sounds exactly like a person shouting from outside theater walls. The best existing surround sound speakers can approximate this only for a small "sweet spot," perhaps a few feet wide, while the Iosono system would create the same realistic illusion for everyone in the room.

Sounds cool...

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For now, there will be a chicken-and-egg problem, however. Until there are venues that support the technology, there is little reason for sound producers to buy and work with it. And until there are movies being produced in this form, there's not much reason for theaters to do expensive upgrades--particularly when they're already facing pricy upgrades to digital projection systems.

But industry insiders who have listened to it say it might just be a matter of time.

"If technology proves itself worthwhile, issues of practicality and affordability eventually solve themselves somehow," Stump said.

I would have thought everyone would jump on it if it is as good as it sounds. Keep people in the cinema rather than all these fancy home entertainment systems which are becoming increasingly affordable.

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