Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Dolby set to turn new TVs into extra surround speakers

Improving your TV sound with extra speakers can get expensive, but what if there was a way your TV could just act as a different channel?

TV sound isn’t always the most impressive it can be, and when you upgrade, you typically just turn it off and make it disappear.

That’s part and parcel of how upgrades often work: replace one feature with something else and watch the old one fade away.

But it doesn’t always have to be that way.

In the past few years, TV makers such as LG and Samsung have come up with ways to integrate a TV’s sound into the rest of an updated sound system, allowing the TV to act as an extra channel provided you use that same company’s soundbar systems. That’s one of the main features of Samsung’s Q-Symphony, a feature that has been in Samsung TVs for a while now.

Brand specific ideas like that might sound good for owners of specific TV and soundbar models, but it appears 2023 is the year that it becomes more commonplace, as Dolby turns the idea into a standard of sorts.

One of the innovations being shown at IFA in Germany, Dolby Atmos FlexConnect will pair the sound inside a TV to speaker system, allowing Atmos to take advantage of the sound in their TV rather than simply replace it.

The idea will come to TCL’s TVs initially, with a line of TCL speakers also coming to work with it, and a feature in the TV reportedly optimising the sound for the room by using dynamic audio balancing.

Interestingly, it also seems that Dolby Atmos FlexConnect will take on a manufacturer-friendly approach similar to what EasyMesh has tried in mesh networking, supporting more than just one manufacturer for the combination of TV and speakers. Essentially, it sounds like you could have a TV from one brand and speakers from another, and the TV would still be able to act as a channel in the system.

That’s distinct to requirements of current similar systems, which force you to have a Samsung TV and Samsung soundbar to play in the same setup. Meanwhile, other speaker and soundbar systems typically need you to stay inside the lines with their brands, too, such as how you need Sonos speakers to add rears to a Sonos Arc.

With Dolby Atmos FlexConnect, the standard appears to be something several manufacturers will be able to take part in, though Dolby and TCL are the first.

Right now, the idea is more of a demo of what the technology can do, with no word from TCL on a release date for its TVs, at least in Australia. But by the end of the year and early next, we hope to hear more about what this technology will look like in TVs, and if there are more player keen to play.

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