Prepared by NATO’s and UNIC’s Technology Committees on February 12, 2013







NATO’s and UNIC’s Technology Committees have a mission of encouraging new technologies that may benefit the entire industry. To that end, we believe new in-theater sound systems have the potential to bring new experiences to our patrons. At this time NATO/UNIC are not endorsing immersive sound or any proprietary immersive sound system, but we believe it is important for NATO/UNIC to identify requirements necessary to bring immersive sound into our theaters. We hope to work with studios, service providers, and equipment manufacturers in understanding and refining our requirements.


It is critical that there not be multiple proprietary solutions for theaters. It is essential that a theater that selects one rendering solution would be able to play all movies that include immersive sound without needing multiple rendering solutions. There are two approaches to this: Approach 1) A single common immersive sound package as a common deliverable or 2) that ALL movies include ALL of the proprietary delivery tracks. Approach 1) would follow in the footsteps of DCI for a common deliverable. The immersive sound files should be included in the DCP of a delivered movie in addition to the defined sound formats: i.e. 5.1/7.1 with HI/VI.   In both of these approaches theaters can choose the rendering solution without concern that they would “miss out” on a particular movie experience. Figure 1 below shows approach 1) and Figure 2 shows approach 2).

As new enhancements are added to the Theatrical Experience, it is important to maintain single inventory of DCP’s with assured backward interoperability.

Suggested Approach

NATO and UNIC believe that the first approach of a common deliverable would be a better solution due to the additional complexity of approach 2 including the deliverable size, DCP/CPL identification, and additional number of keys. NATO and UNIC would entertain other solutions that meet our objectives to avoid in-theater confusion. We will hold discussions with our studio partners to understand the viability and limitations of the solutions. In parallel, we will work with studios and vendors in developing an approach for a common deliverable. We need to understand the viability of a common delivery format, especially the potential limitations.

Figure 1 – Approach 1

Figure 1 - Immersive Audio

Exhibition could have ONE rendering engine and 5.1/7.1 playback.







Figure 2 – Approach 2

Figure 2 - Immersive Audio

Every DCP would have a 5.1/7.1 mix and, if provided, all immersive sound packages.

Exhibition could have ONE rendering engine of their choice and 5.1/7.1 playback.