Cinemark Inks Deal With Barco to Install Auro 11.1 Sound Systems

The deal is announced during a competitive time for immersive cinema sound systems.

Cinemark has announced plans to install Barco’s Auro 11.1 system in more than 150 of its “Extreme Digital” premium large format screens worldwide. At CineEurope in late June, Barco reported that Auro was installed in 67 auditoriums worldwide, with more orders on the way.

This is a closely watched area as immersive sound is currently largely a two system race between Barco Auro 11.1 and Dolby Atmos.

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Barco got an important endorsement from Cinemark. Damian Wardle, vp worldwide theaters technology and presentation for the chain, said in a statement: "After independently testing both commercially available immersive cinema sound systems, it became abundantly clear that Auro 11.1 provides the best complement to the Cinemark XD experience."

"We firmly believe that the fullness and richness of Auro’s height layer, coupled with the discreetness of the future and open standard object-based capabilities supported by Auro, will make for the best moviegoing experience possible," Wardle said. "It’s backward and forward compatibility with existing cinema audio systems, in addition to the ease and economy regarding both implementation and operation, are also critical elements."

Theater owners and studios want standards to address the proprietary and incompatible immersive sound formats. Currently, studios have to do two separate mixes if they wish to release films in both formats. That has included DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo and Sony's Elysium.

Barco and Dolby are each offering a different approach to this issue.