IMMERSIVE AUDIO - Are infrastructures sound enough to take us into the next level?
There have been various advancements in audiovisual technology. 4K pictures are becoming a norm, together with 3D, giving a top-notch visual experience. Immersive Audio has closely followed. An improvement over Surround Sound which is still in use in some homes and cinemas. The audio gotten from Surround Sound is from a 360-degree radius in a two-dimensional plane. However, with Immersive Audio, speakers are added to give the extra dimension of height creating a true three-dimensional effect.
Although it remains largely an experiment, Immersive Audio is now being used for high-profile broadcast marquee events like Project Restart-the return of the Premier League and the EFL to television. Sports Broadcast using Immersive Audio has paved the way for it becoming mainstream, reaching a larger consumer base, as demand has started to increase. This is because sports events attract a massive number of viewers. Live football alone attracts up to three billion viewers worldwide.
While delivering next-generation audio is still an uncharted space for live sports, its improvement and usage are expected to increase in the future as more service providers aim to produce and offer an immersive listening experience.
The use of Immersive Sound for sports Broadcasts has made equipment and infrastructure cheaper and readily available. Next-Generation Audio Processing platforms have started to adapt to this, adding consoles for implementation of Immersive Sound. However, when it comes to live broadcast and immersive sound, there are similarities and differences. In the future, it is hoped that there would be a hybrid of both.
Immersive Sound, when it comes to microphones, has led to the use of more complex and exotic types. Especially during European Soccer broadcasts as these microphones have to be attached to the rafters and pointed downwards.
Smart TVs have now begun to have immersive sound capabilities as more immersive sound bars are becoming widespread and popular, causing manufacturers to add more sound channels. Even with all these, a stereo with a separate channel for a subwoofer is still a luxury for many home viewers.
Immersive Audio is still in its experimental stages as there are still many problems to be solved, a lot of hurdles to overcome. Three-dimensional audio that can propel you from your seat in your home to the sidelines of a football match, hearing the instructions of the coach, the screaming of thousands of die-hard fans in the stadium, as well as hearing the grunts of exertion from the players on the pitch; is surely a welcome development and is here to stay.