Dolby Vision HDR to launch in 3rd-party cinemas globally this year

Mike Wheatley

Dolby has announced that its Dolby Vision HDR format is being made available to partnering cinemas, along with Dolby Atmos sound, ending its own stranglehold on the technology.


Since 2014, Dolby has helped to launch more than 600 movies theatrically in both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos, but has always reserved such releases to its own theaters, which span 14 countries..

However, that will now change, with Dolby announcing this week that it will make Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos available to all premium cinema operators. The move will mean hundreds more cinemas all over the world can become premium exhibitors.

Although Dolby Atmos has been made available to other cinemas since it was first launched, Dolby Vision has always been exclusive to the company’s own branded “Dolby Cinema” theaters.

Dolby Vision is often referred to as “Enhanced Dynamic Range” or EDR in the cinema industry, because it does not hit the same dynamic range heights as the best Dolby Vision-supporting TVs, such as LG Electronics’ and Samsung Electronics’ OLED TVs.

However, Dolby’s own cinemas employ a specialized dual-laser 4K projection system developed by Christie that can deliver up to 108 nits of brightness, enabling them to deliver true HDR experiences. The company has not mentioned the technical requirements for partner cinemas hoping to support true Dolby Vision, but it’s likely they will have to implement some similar kind of system. Dolby hasn’t mentioned any official partners yet, but plans to provide more details at next week’s CinemaCon 2024 event in Las Vegas.

Jed Harmsen, Head of Cinema and Group Entertainment at Dolby, said the company is passionate about creating immersive entertainment experiences, and that it’s exciting to launch combined Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos experiences at more cinemas all over the world. “Coming off of Dolby Cinema's strongest year at the box office, we're thrilled to provide exhibitors with this new offering, which will unlock significantly greater opportunities for moviegoers around the world to love movies more in Dolby at premium theaters,” he said.

The decision to launch Dolby Vision in partner cinemas will likely position the company as a stronger competitor to other premium cinema formats such as IMAX, and comes in response to the increased demand for premium, large format experiences.