NATO and UNIC Release Exhibitor Requirements for Immersive Audio Technologies

February 12, 2013

Washington, D.C. and Brussels -- The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Union Internationale des Cinémas (UNIC) today released cinema exhibitor requirements for immersive sound technologies (attached).

Noting the rapid pace of cinema technology development ushered in by the world-wide conversion to digital cinema projection, the technology committees of both organizations believe that while technological innovation is vital for the cinema business, new technologies must be carefully managed and introduced into the cinema environment. With that goal in mind, the committees have issued today's exhibitor requirements.

Neither organization currently endorses this emerging technology, whether called "3D" audio, object-based audio or immersive audio - nor any proprietary sound format. However, both organizations believe it is essential that, whatever audio rendering solution an individual cinema may choose, it must be capable of playing whatever movie is released with immersive sound. The Exhibitor Requirements explore two possible paths to that goal.

AMC Theatres' EVP Operations and NATO Technology Committee Chairman John McDonald said, "It is in nobody's interest - not exhibitors, studio or vendors - to repeat our experience of the multiple, proprietary and incompatible digital sound formats of the 1990s. While it is critical that we continue to innovate, it is also critical that we work together to implement new technologies in a rational manner that serves all stakeholders. These Exhibitor Requirements represent a first step in that process."

Kim Pedersen, UNIC Vice-President and Chair of the organization's recently established technology committee, commented, "High quality sound is essential to ensuring an attractive and competitive cinema-going experience. We must however ensure that new innovations in sound can be harnessed by all exhibitors. We therefore welcome the fact that our colleagues at NATO have initiated this important dialogue regarding the latest developments around immersive sound."

The National Association of Theatre Owners is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 30,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in 57 countries worldwide.

The Union Internationale des Cinémas (UNIC) represents exhibitors' associations and major cinema operators in the EU, Russia, Turkey and Israel. Find out more about UNIC at



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