I've honestly never heard of Atmos, so I looked it up.
Sounds like it's the audio equivalent of textured polygons in computer graphics, while multi-channel audio would be equivalent to bitmaps on discrete pixels.
Now consider that textured polygons can be rendered at any
screen resolution. It's so common nowadays that the technology is even used for 2D games, where the sprite is placed on a flat polygon that faces directly at the camera; heck even Firefox's Direct3D9 works this way.
Originally Posted by Philnick
The "Pure Audio" label on a Blu-ray does not denote something extra - it stands for something less. It's not a special kind of disk, just a marketing angle.
Perhaps my wording was poor. I didn't specifically mean the brand, but rather Blu-ray as an audio-focused format.
Still, my point stands - how many people with a Blu-ray player and a multi-channel audio setup use said sound system to listen purely to music? Again, I'm pretty sure it's not that many.
Read a bit more and it would seem that Atmos is really just 128-channel audio with a super-fancy algorithm (to the point of using a dedicated DSP) for downmixing the audio to whatever audio setup you need. However, those audio channels are used much more like they are in video games where a single channel is used for a single audio clip, and then software is used to actually move and broadcast that audio channel in 3D space.
Atmos is general seems extremely similar to video game audio middleware like Wwise and AstoundSound, which were demonstrated on AMD's TrueAudio DSP:
To me it sounds like Dolby is taking an existing idea and just re-purposing it.
The following article agrees with me about Dolby Atmos essentually doing the same thing that video game audio has been doing:
Interestingly, video games have always incorporated a more sophisticated version of Dolby Atmos' procedural sound mapping (ignoring the vertical panning aspect, that is) since the 90s with advanced procedural 3D sound APIs such as Open AL, DirectSound3D, Aureal A3D, FMOD and Miles Sound System
Got two more articles that also agree with what I said:
In fact, the sound design for videogames has employed a version of object-based rendering for years. (Notice the way that the sounds of other characters speaking or explosions near you will swing from channel to channel as you change your own character’s direction and point-of-view.)
In a sense, the system resembles the way audio works in a videogame, said Tsingos. “Videogames have been using sound objects like this for a long time, because you have to render all the sound effects basically dynamically. Because the player, the character in the game, can move anywhere.”