Dolby Laboratories

"Dolby" redirects here. For other uses, see Dolby (disambiguation).
Dolby Laboratories, Inc.
Traded as NYSE: DLB
Industry Audio encoding/compression
Audio noise reduction
Founded May 18, 1965 (1965-05-18)
London, England, UK
Founder Ray Dolby
Headquarters Civic Center, San Francisco, California, United States
Number of locations
30+ (2014)
Area served
Key people
Peter Gotcher
(Executive chairman)
Kevin Yeaman
(President and CEO)
Products Dolby ScreenTalk,
Dolby Media Producer,
Dolby Lake Processor
Revenue IncreaseUS$909.67 million (2013)[1]
IncreaseUS$361.99 million (2013)[1]
IncreaseUS$264.30 million (2013)[1]
Total assets IncreaseUS$1.96 billion (2013)[1]
Total equity IncreaseUS$1.74 billion (2013)[1]
Number of employees
1,867 (2015)[2]
Subsidiaries Audistry,[3]
Via Licensing[4]

Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (often shortened to Dolby Labs) is an American company specializing in audio noise reduction and audio encoding/compression. Dolby licenses its technologies to consumer electronics manufacturers.


Dolby Labs was founded by American Ray Dolby (1933-2013) in the United Kingdom in 1965. He moved the company to the United States (San Francisco, California) in 1967.[2] The first product Dolby Labs produced was the Dolby 301 unit which incorporated Type A Dolby Noise Reduction, a compander based noise reduction system. These units were intended for use in professional recording studios.

Dolby was persuaded by Henry Kloss of KLH to manufacture a consumer version of his noise reduction. Dolby worked more on companding systems and introduced Type B in 1968.

Dolby also sought to improve film sound. As the corporation's history explains:

Upon investigation, Dolby found that many of the limitations in optical sound stemmed directly from its significantly high background noise. To filter this noise, the high-frequency response of theatre playback systems was deliberately curtailed… To make matters worse, to increase dialogue intelligibility over such systems, sound mixers were recording soundtracks with so much high-frequency pre-emphasis that high distortion resulted.

The first film with Dolby sound was A Clockwork Orange (1971), which used Dolby noise reduction on all pre-mixes and masters, but a conventional optical sound track on release prints. Callan (1974) was the first film with a Dolby-encoded optical soundtrack. In 1975, Dolby released Dolby Stereo, which included a noise reduction system in addition to more audio channels (Dolby Stereo could actually contain additional center and surround channels matrixed from the left and right). The first film with a Dolby-encoded stereo optical soundtrack was Lisztomania (1975), although this only used an LCR (Left-Center-Right) encoding technique. The first true LCRS (Left-Center-Right-Surround) soundtrack was encoded on the movie A Star Is Born in 1976. In less than ten years, 6,000 cinemas worldwide were equipped to use Dolby Stereo sound. Dolby reworked the system slightly for home use and introduced Dolby Surround, which only extracted a surround channel, and the more impressive Dolby Pro Logic, which was the domestic equivalent of the theatrical Dolby Stereo.[5]

Dolby developed a digital surround sound compression scheme for the cinema. Dolby Stereo Digital (now simply called Dolby Digital) was first featured on the 1992 film Batman Returns. Introduced to the home theater market as Dolby AC-3 with the 1995 laserdisc release of Clear and Present Danger, the format did not become widespread in the consumer market, partly because of extra hardware that was necessary to make use of it, until it was adopted as part of the DVD specification. Dolby Digital is now found in the HDTV (ATSC) standard of the United States, DVD players, and many satellite-TV and cable-TV receivers. Dolby developed a digital surround sound compression scheme for TV series The Simpsons.

On February 17, 2005, the company became public, offering its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, under the symbol DLB. On March 15, 2005, Dolby celebrated its fortieth anniversary at the ShoWest 2005 Festival in San Francisco.

On January 8, 2007, Dolby announced the arrival of Dolby Volume at the International Consumer Electronics Show. It enables users to maintain a steady volume while switching through channels or program elements (i.e., loud TV commercials).

On June 18, 2010, Dolby introduced Dolby Surround 7.1, and set up theaters worldwide with 7.1 surround speaker setups to deliver theatrical 7.1 surround sound. The first film to be released with this format was Pixar's Toy Story 3 which was later followed by 50 releases using the format. As of April 2012, there are 3,600 Dolby Surround 7.1 movie theaters.

In April 2012, Dolby introduced its Dolby Atmos, a new cinematic technology adding overhead sound, first applied in Pixar's motion picture Brave.[6] In July 2014, Dolby Laboratories announced plans to bring Atmos to home theater. The first television show to use the technology on disc was Game of Thrones.

On February 24, 2014, Dolby acquired Doremi Labs for $92.5 million in cash plus an additional $20 million in contingent consideration that may be earned over a four-year period.[7]


Analog audio noise reduction

Audio encoding/compression

Audio processing

Dolby system A-type decoder

Video processing

LMS is derived from RGB:[31]

ICtCp is derived from L'M'S':[31]

Digital cinema

Live sound

Dolby Surround systems at a glance

Over the years Dolby has introduced several surround sound systems. Their differences are explained bellow.

Decoder Encoder Year Description Channels
Dolby Stereo 1975 Cinema use with optical technology. Uses Dolby A for noise reduction. Upmix stereo to Surround 4.0 FL FR with C and MonoSurround matrixed
Dolby Surround Dolby Surround 1982 First Home use. Analog. Upmix stereo to Surround 3.0 FL FR and MonoSurround matrixed
Dolby Stereo SR 1986 Cinema use. Uses Dolby SR for noise reduction. FL FR with C and MonoSurround matrixed
Dolby Pro Logic 1987 Improved Dolby Surround. Upmix Stereo to Surround 4.0. FL FR with C and MonoSurround matrixed
Dolby Digital AC3 1992 Film
1995 Laser Disc
Discrete channel encoder/decoder. Pro Logic Decoder can be used for downmixed stereo inputs. FL FR C SL SR SUB
Dolby Digital EX/Dolby Digital Surround EX 1999 non-discrete 6.1 or 7.1 (5.1 with Center Rear matrixed onto SL & SR) FL FR C SL SR (with matrixed RearMono) SUB [non-discrete 7.1: BackLeft and BackRight]
Dolby Pro Logic II 2000 Improved Dolby Pro Logic. Upmix Stereo to Surround 5.1 in either Movie, Music, or Game mode. FL FR C SL SR SUB
Dolby Pro Logic IIx 2002 Upmix Stereo or Surround 5.1 to 6.1 or 7.1 in either Movie, Music, or Game mode. FL FR C SL SR SUB Left Back and Right Back
Dolby Digital Plus Dolby Media Encoder 2005 Lossy compression codec; 48 kHz sampling frequency, 20-bit word length; supports data rates of 32 kbit/s – 6 Mbit/s, scalable, including 768 kbit/s – 1.5 Mbit/s on high-definition optical discs, typically, and 256 kbit/s for broadcast and online. 1.0- to 7.1-channel support for current media applications; extensible to 16 channels; discrete. Backward compatibile with Dolby Digital through S/PDIF connection up to 640 kbit/s. Supports Dolby Metadata. FL FR C SL SR SUB Left Back and Right Back
Dolby TrueHD Dolby Media Encoder 2005 Lossless compression codec; supports 44.1 kHz to 192 kHz sampling frequency up to 24-bit word length; supports variable data rate up to 18 Mbit/s; maximum channel support is 16 channels as presently deployed. Higher bitrate than Dolby Digital Plus. Blu-ray Disc channel support up to eight channels of 96 kHz/24-bit audio; six channels (5.1) up to 192 kHz/24-bit; and two- to six-channel support up to 192 kHz/24-bit maximum bit rate up to the maximum of 18 Mbit/s.
Dolby Pro Logic IIz Dolby Laboratories 2009 Upmix Stereo or Surround 5.1/7.1 to 7.1 Height or 9.1 with the addition of front height channels. (Based on Dolby Pro Logic IIx.) L, C, R, Ls, Rs, Lrs (Left Back), Rrs (Right Back), LFE, Lvh and Rvh

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Dolby Laboratories Reports Fiscal 2013 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Financial Results". Dolby Laboratories, Inc. 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  2. 1 2 "FAQ - Dolby Laboratories, Inc.". Dolby Laboratories. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  3. "Dolby Laboratories - Sound Technology, Imaging Technology, Voice Technology". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  4. "ViaLicensing". ViaLicensing. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  5. "Pixar's Brave to debut new Dolby Atmos sound system". BBC News. BBC. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  6. "Dolby Signs Agreement to Acquire Doremi Labs". 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  7. Dolby Advanced Audio v2
  8. "Dolby Digital EX". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  9. "Dolby Digital Live". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  10. "AAC (Advanced Audio Coding)". Dolby Laboratories. Archived from the original on 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  11. "Dolby Laboratories to Acquire Coding Technologies" (Press release). Dolby Laboratories. 2007-11-08. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  12. "Dolby Pulse - combining the merits of Dolby Digital and HE-AAC" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-12-10.
  13. 1 2 "Dolby Headphone with 5.1 Surround Sound Stereo". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  14. "Dolby Laboratories - Sound Technology, Imaging Technology, Voice Technology" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  15. "Dolby Volume". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  16. "Dolby Debuts New Video Technologies at International CES 2008". Dolby press release. Retrieved 2008-03-28.
  17. "Dolby Vision". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  18. Caleb Denison (2016-01-28). "Ultra HD Blu-ray arrives March 2016; here's everything we know". Digital Trends. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  19. Michael S. Palmer (2016-02-10). "Hands On First Look: Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player". High-Def Digest. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  20. What version of HDMI does Dolby Vision require? Also, if Dolby Vision uses dynamic metadata, how can an Ultra HD Blu-ray player pass the proper signal on to an HDR TV using HDMI 2.0a (which supports only static metadata)?
  21. Adam Wilt (2014-02-20). "HPA Tech Retreat 2014 – Day 4". DV Info Net. Retrieved 2014-11-05.
  22. "ST 2084:2014". Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  23. Chris Tribbey (2015-07-10). "HDR Special Report: SMPTE Standards Director: No HDR Format War, Yet". MESA. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  24. Bryant Frazer (2015-06-09). "Colorist Stephen Nakamura on Grading Tomorrowland in HDR". studiodaily. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  25. Rachel Cericola (2015-08-27). "What Makes a TV HDR-Compatible? The CEA Sets Guidelines". Big Picture Big Sound. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  26. "End-to-end guidelines for phase A implementation". Ultra HD Forum. 2016-04-18. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  27. "BT.2100 : Image parameter values for high dynamic range television for use in production and international programme exchange". International Telecommunication Union. 2016-07-04. Retrieved 2016-07-04.
  28. "ITU announces BT.2100 HDR TV standard". Rasmus Larsen. 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  30. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "ICtCp Dolby White Paper" (PDF). Dolby. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  31. Peng Yin; Chad Fogg; Gary J. Sullivan; Alexis Michael Tourapis (2016-03-19). "Draft text for ICtCp support in HEVC (Draft 1)". JCT-VC. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  32. Jan Froehlich; Timo Kunkel; Robin Atkins; Jaclyn Pytlarz; Scott Daly; Andreas Schilling; Bernd Eberhardt (2015-10-18). "Encoding Color Difference Signals for High Dynamic Range and Wide Gamut Imagery" (PDF). Society for Imaging Sciences and Technology. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
  33. "Dolby Digital Cinema". Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  34. Dolby 3D Movie Technology. Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
  35. Content Creators, Distributors, Exhibitors: Introducing Dolby Atmos™. Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
  36. Dolby Cinema the Total Cinema Experience. Retrieved on 2014-12-17.
  37. "Dolby Lake Processor" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  38. "About Lake".

External links

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