Feeds

Inside the BBC's R&D Labs

From the Lab to the living room

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Look around you

A while ago, I looked at what’s coming after HD, including systems like Super Hi-Vision, with its 22.2-channel surround sound. But that’s not the only way to create a more immersive sound, as the Lab team behind the 3D sound experiments explained, in a test room with a huge array of speakers.

Like the old ambisonics, 3D sound isn’t fixed at a specific number of speakers. An impressive demo recording of Elbow in Manchester’s cathedral used ambisonics to recreate the audience and echoes and a technique known as Vector Based Amplitude Panning, to position the performers in the soundfield.

It may be a much more immersive sound, but of course it’s not practical for many living rooms. With rather a lot of folk, especially radio listeners, using headphones, binaural stereo can also create a realistic impression, and that too is an area the audio team are working on.

Both are some way from the living room – there’s no mechanism yet for broadcasting 3D audio, with its lack of distinct channels, and though binaural stereo can be transmitted easily, it works best when it’s tailored to the listener’s own head and ears.

Of course, with programmes like Doctor Who being made in HD and 5.1 sound, there’s one very obvious question to ask: why don’t they make the monsters appear to be behind the sofa? The lab hasn’t quite sorted that one out, but in a neat demonstration showing how the ‘internet of things’ can be linked with TV broadcasts, a live dalek toy bursts into life when one of his fellows appears on screen.

BBC R&D Labs' Dalek

What R&D labs are really for

The Money Programme

Some may question why the BBC puts so much effort into R&D. But with around 50 active projects, and an income of around £16m, including money from the licence fee, commercial licensing – the BBC has over 160 patents – and grants, the R&D team punches well above its weight.

The modern office tower in Salford that houses R&D North Lab might not have the quirky charm of Kingswood Warren, but it certainly still seems to house the same inventiveness. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.