SRS Labs Trying To Push For Surround Sound On Cellphones


Okay don’t get all excited this is not coming to a BlackBerry near you anytime soon.  I just thought it was interesting that SRS Labs is working on a new 5.1 stereo surround sound codec specifically for mobile devices. This is a pretty cool idea but I have to ask if they really think the market is mature enough for such a technology. ANY video on a mobile phone is still in the very early adopters stage. Don’t get me wrong SRS audio would be cool but I think it is way before its time. I personally have a dream that one day SRS surround will join with the Texas Instruments guys who are building mobile projectors into cellphones and create a mobile movie theater. Dream Big!

What do you think?

If you are interested check out the Press Release after the jump:

Barcelona, SPAIN and SANTA ANA, CA – February 11, 2008 – SRS Labs Inc. (NASDAQ: SRSL), a leading provider of surround sound, audio enhancement and voice technologies, today announced the release of SRS CS Headphone™ technology which can enable dormant surround sound in mobile video and streaming media applications, making a home theater-like user experience from mobile video applications a possibility. SRS CS Headphone is now available for license to wireless service providers, streaming media providers and mobile device makers. Without CS Headphone, the user’s experiences fall flat in the fulfillment of what was intended by defaulting to stereo.

SRS CS Headphone is deeply rooted in the company’s successful Circle Surround® decoder technology which is featured in leading automobile surround systems and A/V receivers. Building on SRS’ 2008 CES Innovations Award winning headphone technology, SRS Headphone 360™, SRS CS Headphone is highly optimized for low power mobile devices. Utilizing only the 2-channel stereo or surround encoded audio delivered over mobile devices, SRS CS Headphone allows mobile media viewers to experience and enjoy the original 5.1 surround recorded program.

CS Headphone takes the stereo or surround encoded 2-channel audio and first processes it using an ultra-low-power Circle Surround decoder to create 5.1 highly accurate channels.  The audio is then fed into SRS’ Headphone 360 rendering technology.  The end result is the accurate placement of 5.1 channels of natural sounding audio around the listeners head — through standard stereo earphones or headphones. No special hardware or headphone design required.

“Through the use of SRS Circle Surround Headphone technology in their mobile devices, manufacturers and wireless service providers can now captivate consumers with a 5.1 surround sound service and listening experience,” said Tom Yuen, CEO for SRS Labs.  “Moreover, a fully optimized listening experience will significantly improve the consumer’s small screen viewing experience making it even that much more valuable to mobile TV service success.”

The expansion of 3G networks and flat-rate data plans will combine to drive mobile TV subscriber totals to 462 million worldwide by 2012, according to a new forecast released by market analysis firm ABI Research. Mobile video delivery network build outs and an increasing volume of available content will also accelerate consumer demand, ABI notes, projecting the Asia-Pacific region as the overall adoption leader, growing from 24 million mobile TV subscribers in 2007 to more than 260 million by 2012.

Due to bandwidth constraints, internet video streaming and wireless providers are forced to condense 5.1 surround sound encoded audio into 2-channel surround encoded audio (referred to as Lt/Rt or Total Left/Total Right).  Although this 2-channel content can be restored to its original 5.1 sound, until CS Headphone mobile phone manufacturers and service providers didn’t have an efficient technology to implement this conversion.

While stereo is widely used for listening to music, television programming and movies are produced in surround sound. This surround content can be enjoyed by the consumer either over a 5.1 home theater system or through a TV that features SRS Labs’ TruSurround XT technology which renders virtual surround sound over the TV’s speakers. Over the past 10 years, SRS has become the #1 virtual surround sound technology provider for the flat panel television market. SRS has successfully unleashed surround encoded, 2-channel television broadcasts by enabling surround sound over the stereo speakers built into consumer TVs. Without SRS TruSurround XT or a 5.1 surround sound system, the viewer only hears stereo and does not get to enjoy the original surround mix.  By rendering it out as surround over 2-channels, SRS has solved that issue for TV viewers and, with SRS CS Headphone, can now do the same in mobile devices.

Private demonstrations of SRS CS Headphone will be held at The Mobile World Congress 2008 in Barcelona, Spain. The show is running from February 11 – 14, 2008. Manufacturers and semiconductor companies that are interested in learning more about how they can integrate this new technology into their applications or products can schedule an appointment by contacting Joanna Skrdlant, senior director, global business development and product management for SRS Labs at [email protected] or +1 949-290-5321.

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