Wireless stereo audio distribution, coming to a cinema near you

Cambridge Consultants, a leading technology design and development firm, today announced that Doremi Cinema LLC, leading provider of cinema servers and mastering stations, is the first licensee for Salix™, its wireless audio distribution system. Doremi Cinema will manufacture the system for the provision of hearing assistance and simultaneous translation, under the brand name Fidelio™, and deliver two stereo or four mono channels per cinema auditorium, typically assigning a channel for hearing impaired and another for visually impaired users. The configuration of auditorium and channel is done in a small docking stand by the attendant issuing the receiver to the customer.

Doremi becomes the first leading manufacturer to offer the innovative service to cinemas and auditoria worldwide. Based on a Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) platform, the Salix system delivers high quality stereo audio while eliminating the high installation or retro-fit costs of many current systems. Most audio distribution systems in use today are based on infra-red technology which requires a clear line of sight between the transmitter and receiver. This means installing multiple transmitters in a venue, generally on the ceiling. This can be expensive, not only because of the need for multiple transmitters, but also because of the expense of installation at great heights. Salix overcomes these problems by utilising DECT wireless technology that delivers an effective operating range of 100m, does not require line of sight and is self-configuring to ensure interference-free broadcast. The result is high-quality, zero-dropout audio distribution from a single transmitter installed anywhere – significantly reducing hardware and installation costs. Importantly, multiple Salix transmitters can co-exist in an auditorium, conference centre or school – this is due to a robust spectrum etiquette scheme, which is shared by all equipment using the DECT bands.

Michael Archer, Vice President of Sales at Doremi Cinema, commented: “We listened to theatre operators concerns about the high cost and installation difficulties associated with offering their hearing and visually impaired patrons a high quality theatre experience. We partnered with Cambridge Consultants to develop a Salix based system that provides superior audio quality, is easy to install, substantially more affordable than previous technologies and complements our industry leading digital cinema product line, keeping our customers at the forefront of today’s high-quality cinema experience.”

Tim Whittaker, System Architect in Cambridge Consultants’ Wireless Division, adds: “DECT is a rock solid radio technology which is why we consider it ideal for audio distribution where quality and stability are the key criteria. The fact that it is a well-established technology also means that DECT chips are widely available at a very low unit cost, which enables the development of extremely low cost receivers for auditoria. In addition, the low-cost of installation means that some venues could reduce installation costs to a tenth of comparable infra-red based systems.”

The Salix reference design, which has been tested and proven, is available as a hardware documentation package including photoplot and assembly information, with executable software for both transmitter and receiver ends. Alternatively, source code licensing is available for custom design.

The Salix system comprises a transmitter board that can be populated for one or two stereo channels, and a receiver board with selector buttons for volume, power and programme selection, audio output socket and a built-in lithium polymer battery. A modern high quality, low latency music codec delivers stereo audio with a 15kHz bandwidth.

Tim Whittaker from Cambridge Consultants will be demonstrating Salix by appointment at IBC 2011 in Amsterdam, and PLASA 2011 in London : please contact email, +44 1223 392578. For North America please contact email, +1 310 993 1585.

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Notes for editors 

Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology critical issues for clients worldwide. For 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of over 300 engineers, designers, scientists and consultants, in offices in Cambridge (UK) and Boston (USA), Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, transport, energy, cleantech and wireless communications. For more information visit: www.CambridgeConsultants.com  

Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, the European leader in innovation and high technology consulting. The Group’s 17,500 consultants, operating worldwide, cover the entire range of engineering specialities, including electronics, information technology, quality and organization. Altran offers its clients ongoing support throughout the innovation cycle, from technology watch, applied basic research and management consulting to industrial systems engineering and information systems. The Group provides services to most industries, including the automotive, aeronautics, space, life sciences and telecommunications sectors.  Founded in 1982, Altran operates in 20 priority countries. In 2008, it generated a turnover of €1,650 million. For more information visit: www.altran.com

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