SPI Cinemas embraces Dolby Atmos in a major way

Chennai, June 12 (IANS) City-based movie theatre chain operator SPI Cinemas Pvt. Ltd. has decided to go in for Dolby Atmos sound systems in 37 screens located here and in Coimbatore at an outlay of around Rs.12 crore, said top company official.

"The investment per screen differs but the total outlay is around Rs.12 crore. Before the year end, the installation of the new sound system will be over," CEO Kiran Reddy told IANS.

According to him, Dolby Atmos is the latest in the cinema sound system, which is object based and the movie viewers' experience will get the company the required return on investment, he added.

Dolby Laboratories officials said the technology allows sound experts the creative freedom to place or move specific sounds anywhere in the movie theatre, not just where the speakers happen to be.

Earlier, speaking to the reporters Reddy said some of the existing speakers in the theatres can be reused while the wiring has to be changed.

"The locations of all the speakers have to be modified in the theatres and the investment in Satyam theatre with a seating capacity of around 1,000 may be the highest," Reddy added.

For the US-based Dolby Laboratories, the SPI Cinemas order for its Dolby Atmos is really big as currently the sound system is installed in six screens in the country.

"Chennai will be the one city in the world with the largest number of Dolby Atmos installation," said Pankaj Kedia, country manager, Dolby Laboratories India.

He said over 200 screens have been equipped with Dolby Atmos systems to date and the number is expected to touch 1,000 by the end of 2013.

Kedia does not agree that competing system Auro-3D has an initial advantage over Dolby Laboratories as its sound systems have already been installed in about 12 screens in India, including in Six Degrees part of SPI.

"We will be installing the Dolby Atmos in Six Degrees as well, as we find this is better," Reddy told IANS.

Though movies produced with different sound system can also be screened in theatres with Dolby Atmos, the output may not be like the original, said Dolby Laboratories officials.

However, Reddy does not agree that his theatres are caught in a technology bind as he feels Dolby Atmos is the technology of the future.

According to Kedia, more number of content creators are favouring Dolby Atmos as their sound system.

He said the total number of Dolby Atmos' Indian titles released till date is seven and the expected movie releases are: Villa (Pizza 2), Thalaiva, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Sholay 3D, Ghanchakkar, Chennai Express, Warning, Satya 2.

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