New immersive audio standards have been published by SMPTE for distribution and consistent playout of various immersive sound systems.

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It is the growth in popularity of immersive audio formats as well as the unprecedented rate of technological advancements sweeping the industry that have prompted the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) to publish the new standards.  

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) has published:

  • ST 2098-1, Immersive Audio Metadata
  • ST 2098-2, Immersive Audio Bitstream Specification
  • ST 2098-5, D-Cinema Immersive Audio Channels and Soundfield Groups

SMPTE ST 2098-1 establishes the metadata for use in creating immersive audio content for cinema.

The standard defines the metadata items supported in immersive audio content and, when appropriate, the range of values, value precisions, and cardinal values. (The format of the metadata items when carried in a bitstream or file is provided in SMPTE ST 2098-2.)

SMPTE ST 2098-2 defines a coded representation (bitstream) that carries the audio essence and metadata necessary to reproduce a complete immersive audio program.

SMPTE ST 2098-5 defines names and abbreviations for immersive audio channels and soundfield groups associated with D-Cinema immersive audio presentation. This standard also provides guidance on typical locations of cinema loudspeakers used for immersive audio reproduction.

SMPTE Founding Chair of Technology Committee on Cinema Sound Systems (TC-25CSS) and Sony Pictures Entertainment Executive Director of Digital Audio Mastering Brian Vessa said:

“Immersive audio makes a significant impression on audiences, and because of the real value it adds, we’re seeing an increasing number of movies being mixed for the immersive environment.

“By supporting delivery of a standardised immersive audio bitstream within a single interoperable digital cinema package, the new SMPTE immersive audio standards simplify distribution while ensuring that cinemas can confidently play out immersive audio on their choice of compliant Immersive sound systems.”

The new standards for immersive audio are available now in the SMPTE digital library hosted on the IEEE Xplore platform here.