Wootton Bassett, U.K. (November 4, 2003)–German public broadcaster, Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), has launched the world’s first permanent Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound radio service. Following tests and demonstrations during September 2003, the station is now broadcasting late-night classical music concerts every other Thursday and Friday in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. These broadcasts can be received for no extra charge by the estimated 300,000 households in Germany and 3 million households across Europe who already have compatible DVB receivers for digital television.
“We received extremely enthusiastic comments on the test from hundreds of consumers,” commented Martin Wöhr, head of studio production and operations at BR Radio. “For example, anyone who cannot afford to attend classical music concerts regularly but loves the experience can now replicate this in the comfort of their own home. It also helps radio to hold its own against other entertainment formats, such as television or DVDs. Surround sound is a logical next step for us, as everybody equipped to receive German digital TV channels in Dolby Digital can already receive the enhanced radio services.”
Wöhr concluded, “Producing 5.1 channel programming ourselves has not only been an exciting technical learning process but also a massive success with our listeners. These broadcasts will lead to more regular 5.1 programming from us, and we hope it will encourage other stations to innovate with surround sound.”