Dolby to Receive Broadcaster's International Honor for Excellence

Star Wars: A New Hope Still 1977 - Photofest - Embed 2017
20th Century Fox/Photofest

It's a table for four at the Mos Eisley cantina in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977).

Pioneering sound company Dolby is set to receive the International Broadcasting Convention’s highest accolade, the International Honour for Excellence. Craig Todd, senior vp and CTO of Dolby, will accept the award on the company’s behalf at a Sept. 17 awards ceremony during the 50th annual IBC convention at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Center.

Past recipients have including James Cameron, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ang Lee and Peter Jackson. “We honored Ray Dolby himself with the predecessor of the International Honor for Excellence, the John Tucker Award, in 2000,” explains IBC CEO Michael Crimp. “In IBC’s 50th anniversary year, this is a great opportunity to reflect on how far we have come [in technical innovation]. Dolby’s great achievements in changing the soundtrack of all our lives, over 50 years, cannot be underestimated.”

At the time of the first IBC in 1967, one of the big technological challenges was tape noise in professional recordings. Ray Dolby led the development the Dolby A-Type audio noise reduction system, which became a de facto standard and was instrumental in making multitrack music recording practical. For the consumer cassette format came Dolby B.

In 1971 Dolby began working to improve cinema audio, and in that year A Clockwork Orange was the first to use Dolby noise reduction on all its premixes. Another milestone in cinema sound occurred in 1977 when Star Wars was released with a high fidelity four-channel optical sound track. In 1992, Batman Returns was the first film to be released in Dolby Digital, and later that decade the Dolby Digital codec enabled television and DVD to bring 5.1 channel audio to the home.

Among the company's latest advancements is immersive sound system Dolby Atmos, which debuted in 2012 with the release of Pixar’s Brave.