Originally Posted by Dreamliner
It's very possible. I was under the assumption that NEO:X was a codec and/or Blu-rays could be encoded with 11.2 information. Even if it is just an algorithm, take a Blu-ray like Dredd, are you saying that if that was mastered in DTS-HD (which DREDD specifically says NEO:X on the cover), that the sound output from each speaker would be identical to if it was encoded with TrueHD?
Selden has already given great responses, but just to be clear, it's important to understand the difference between mastering techniques vs. codecs vs. upmixing.
The DTS/Dolby codecs like TrueHD, DTS-HD/Master, lossy Dolby Digital, etc. are simply compression algorithms. They take a soundtrack and pack it (encode) into a container that compresses the file size and saves space. On the other end, the decoder unpacks it from the container. With lossless compression like TrueHD and DTS-HD/MA, what comes out is EXACTLY the same as what comes in. The content is mastered as multiple channels of PCM, then packed into a codec (like zipping a file on a computer) and then when the receiver/processor decodes it, the same multiple channels of PCM are restored.
So in that sense, it's irrelevant whether the encode was DTS or Dolby with respect to how an upmixer works. The upmixer has no clue what the codec on the disc one, it (like any other post processing such as bass management or EQ) is operating on the decoded PCM audio channels. So you can take a soundtrack, pack it into TrueHD on one Blu-ray, and pack it into DTS-MA on another, and the two discs will sound IDENTICAL when played on your setup, regardless of whether you play it straight, add upmixing like DSX or Neo:X, etc. The only reason DTS has come to dominate Blu-ray audio is that it's cheaper and easier to use for the production facilities. Whether it's PLIIx from Dolby, DSX fop Audyssey, or Neo:X from DTS, there is absolutely zero benefit to "matching" the upmixer to the codec based on company.
Also, you can see how the idea of "mastered in DTS-HD" is really nonsensical. There is no such thing, the mastering (for channel based content) is done with PCM, and the DTS codec only comes into play when packing it onto a disc to save space.
The Neo:X 11ch movies don't come out of the cinemas natively. There is no such thing in cinemas. Basically, someone put in the time, money and effort to take a traditional 5.1 or 7.1 movie mix and REMIX it for release on Blu-ray, with special cues matrixed in to allow Neo:X to extract an "almost discrete" 11.1ch mix. As aaronwt pointed out, this is essentially the same in principle as DTS-ES / Dolby Digital EX from back in the 6.1 days, where that extra surround back channel was matrixed into the surround channels for easy extraction, but the payload was still a basic 5.1 track that would play normally on a 5.1 system.
Dolby Atmos is totally different because it is a completely new process for MASTERING the cinema soundtracks. There are already over 150 movies mastered natively in Dolby Atmos and the format has been adopted in hundreds of movie theaters. The important distinction is that more and more movies will be natively mastered in Atmos as we go forward, because it makes it easier for production purposes. The big benefit of object-based audio for production is that it breaks the "tyranny of channels" as I believe Roger Dressler put it. You just place the sounds where you want them and the renderer can theoretically scale the soundtrack to any given speaker layout. So instead of having to have to create separate mixes for stereo, 5.1, 7.1 etc. (and if you wanted something different like a Neo:X matrix mix for home it's even more effort), the content producers can create a single Atmos mix and it will scale to the layout.
This is a very, very important distinction between more gimmicky "for Blu-ray only" consumer tricks like Neo:X matrix encodes and Atmos, and it's why the paucity of Neo:X 11ch mixes isn't really relevant. The people making the movies (and the movie theaters playing them) are already transitioning to Atmos for native production. They don't have to extend additional special effort to take the cinema mix and translate it to this fancy "more than 7.1" home mix. The movies are being produced in Atmos from the start, and it will be easy to translate that to the consumer.
For home delivery, Dolby has also built the tools to piggyback on the "core + extension" structure of Dolby TrueHD codec and deliver Atmos through current Blu-ray technology. The mix is placed into the TrueHD container (with the objects utilizing the "extensions" for metadata) and (with Dolby's proprietary encoding tools) automagically folds into a 7.1+objects package. If played on a non-Atmos system, it will simply play like any other 5.1/7.1 TrueHD track. And you can then apply Neo:X or whatever upmixer you want if you want to do it the "old way" and upmix to your existing height/wide speakers. So if you stick with your 4520 and happen to buy a Blu-ray with Atmos TrueHD encode, it will play exactly like any other Blu-ray on your system. But if the processor has an Atmos decoder, it will be able to read the object metadata and render a "custom" sound mix based on your speaker layout, including that discrete vertical content that makes it a true 3D sound bubble.