Dolby and TCL to demo immersive FlexConnect audio at IFA 2023

Mike Wheatley

Dolby Laboratories will partner with TV maker TCL to demonstrate its next-generation Dolby Atmos FlexConnect technology at the IFA 2023 show in Berlin next month.


The new technology aims to provide an immersive Dolby Atmos surround sound experience no matter what kind of layout the user’s living room is, and regardless of where in the room they’re sitting. To work, it requires a compatible TV set plus external wireless speakers. It might require a bit of investment in hardware, but it sounds worthwhile for anyone who’s interested in accurately reproducing the most immersive sound effects.

The Dolby FlexConnect system works by intelligently optimizing the sound based on the layout of the room and the position of the speakers, even if there is only a single external audio device. It means users can simply plonk their speakers anywhere in the room, without worrying about strategically placing them, Dolby says. It explained that FlexConnect relies on the built-in microphone in compatible TVs to identify the location of each speaker, calibrating the sound they produce to ensure optimal audio output.

The system will then calibrate itself based on how many speakers are available and their location. It combines those external speakers with the TV’s audio to reproduce the best possible immersive sound experience.

TCL said it will be one of the first TV brands to support Dolby Atmos FlexConnect, starting with its 2024 TVs, which will be powered by MediaTek’s latest Pentonic Smart TV series chipset. In addition, TCL is planning to launch a range of compatible wireless speakers that support the format.

According to Dolby, FlexConnect will be able to adapt to various different types of speakers, even if they’re made by different brands. It gives speaker makers lots of freedom to come up with different device combinations and form factors, Dolby added, so we could see some interesting new audio devices appear in support of the technology.

Dolby said the benefits of FlexConnect include an elevated Dolby Atmos experience without compromising the multi-dimensional effects when additional channels are added. It will enable users to get the most efficient audio effects based on the dimensions of their living room, without needing to make any compromises due to furniture arrangements etc. The company also promises it will be simple and quick to set up, without laying out lots of wires and cables all over the room.

Dolby and TCL plan to demonstrate the FlexConnect system at IFA 2023, providing us not only with a first look at the technology, but also a glimpse of the latter’s 2024 TV models and wireless speakers.

“Consumers shouldn’t have to move their furniture to experience better audio, but rather audio should adapt to them,” said John Couling, senior vice president of entertainment for Dolby Laboratories. “Dolby Atmos FlexConnect is an entirely new category of experience that offers consumers the freedom and flexibility to choose how they want to arrange their devices while still getting a great immersive Dolby Atmos experience.”