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SRS Labs 15th Anniversary Contest

by August 21, 2008
SRS Labs 15th Anniversary

SRS Labs 15th Anniversary

SANTA ANA, Calif. August 6, 2008 Set the Wayback Machine to 1993, Santa Ana, California. You’re now present at the formation of SRS Labs, Inc., and you’re looking at “high-end” tube television sets whose sound quality just got better, thanks to their newly implemented SRS 3D® audio enhancement circuitry. Looking back to the earliest days of the company, we were led to think about what else didn’t exist before 1993 . . .

1993 was only 15 years ago, but just how much has the home entertainment and audio world changed since SRS Labs came on the scene?

In 1993, when we watched movies at home, it was on a big, boxy tube television set. Flat screens were a dream. As was HDTV. Those movies were delivered on a noisy cable signal, a VCR, or if we were lucky, on a Laserdisc. Satellite TV (at least with a dish smaller than 6 feet), wasn’t an option, and there was no satellite radio. CDs were in vogue, but DVD hadn’t even entered anyone’s vocabulary. Portable audio? State-of-the art in Walkmans played back CDs. No iPods with a thousand songs; just one album at a time on CD or cassette.

What else didn’t exist? No one was using email at home. Had anyone heard of Google? The Oprah Winfrey Show? Pixar? Ebay? Spam was food (well, sort of). Blackberry was just a berry. Pictionary? Poor Barbie was trying to figure out why she didn’t have a navel, and Blue M&Ms were only a Smurf’s dream. In fact, many of today’s most prominent icons did not exist, and so many of today’s everyday things were not around that it seems hard to believe how much has changed.

One of those changes is the creation of SRS Labs, and the real story here is just how seamlessly SRS makes today’s digital world sound better.

At its birth, SRS entered a world that was poised for a digital entertainment revolution. In the years following 1993, new digital technology and devices proliferated, and, more significantly, the ways we listen changed. From surround sound, to flat screen televisions, portable media devices, mobile phones, PCs, and automotive sound, digital audio changed things in fundamental ways.

The 1993 music listener was most likely sitting in a living room listening to a stereo pair of big, boxy loudspeakers. Today, a fully mobile population of listeners carries sound with them, regardless of what they are doing or where they are going.

But, listening through headphones, or on a flat panel TV, a PC, or a mobile phone is not the same as listening through those big loudspeakers. Limitations on speaker size and shape affect sound quality, and compressed audio signals such as MP3s (not to mention cell phone transmissions) do not have the same sound quality as a CD or DVD. That is where the unique technologies of SRS Labs transform the performance of digital audio devices.

Armed with an early understanding of the science of how the human hearing system works, SRS Labs’ mission was to develop technology that improved sound by overcoming limitations in the audio reproduction path, whether the limitations were in the storage medium, the playback device, or the listening environment. In the early days, basic analog circuits were used. When the digital revolution of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) chips arrived, SRS Labs developed vastly more sophisticated technologies with the unique ability to retrieve and meticulously restore subtle audio cues that were lost during the recording, compression, and playback process.

While no one could have predicted today’s world back in 1993, SRS’s nascent technologies can now be seen to have anticipated the future challenges of producing the best possible digital audio performance. With over 150 patents worldwide, one billion products shipped, and a list of licensees in the hundreds (including 9 of the top 10 flat panel TV brands worldwide), it is clear that the industry recognizes SRS as the foremost authority in research and application of human auditory principles to reproduce rich, uncompromised audio.

As audio and entertainment technologies continue to evolve, SRS Labs will continue to lead. For products ranging from home theater, to mobile phones, portable media devices, PCs, and automobiles, SRS Labs truly makes a digital world sound remarkably better.

To commemorate the company’s 15 years of audio innovation and leadership, SRS Labs is giving away a prize a day for 15 days! The sweepstakes, which includes sponsorship participation from several partners, including Altec Lansing, Bluetrek, Corel, Intellitouch, iLive, iRiver, Logitech, Memorex, Motorola and others, started at noon on August 1 and runs through August 15, 2008.

About SRS Labs, Inc.
Founded in 1993, SRS Labs is the industry leader in audio signal processing for consumer electronics. Beginning with the audio technologies originally developed at Hughes Aircraft, SRS Labs holds over 150 worldwide patents and is recognized by the industry as the foremost authority in research and application of human auditory principals. Through partnerships with leading global CE companies, semiconductor manufacturers and software partners, SRS audio, surround sound and voice processing technologies have been included in over one billion electronic products sold worldwide including HDTVs, mobile phones, portable media devices, PCs and automotive entertainment. In fact, SRS Labs is the de-facto standard of HDTV audio processing with nine of the top ten name brand flat panel TVs featuring SRS technology. Additionally, SRS Labs surround sound solutions provide the professional broadcast and recording industries with high-performance production, back-haul, storage, and transmission capability. SRS Labs supports manufacturers worldwide with offices in the US, China, Europe, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. For more information, visit http://www.srslabs.com/.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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