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SRS Labs continues to gain presence among TV viewers and consumers, its latest win being the use of its Circle Surround technology by ESPN for NFL and NBA telecasts. Ron Scalise, ESPN remote operations audio consultant, says the CSE-07 Circle Surround Pro Encoder gives viewers a wider sweet spot with a good sense of surround.

The Circle Surround matrixing audio, which is the sending of 5.1 or 6.1 channels onto a stereo two-channel carrier, requires minimum to no calibration, according to Scalise. The encoder is fed stereo effects, stereo music and sound design, a monaural announcer mix, and rear-channel audio.

"It's better than discrete 5.1 because it gives us what we want in a true discrete mix and also helps for stereo elements and making them bigger than life," says Scalise.

SRS Wowcast Vice President of Engineering Alan Kraemer describes the CSE-07 Circle Surround Pro Encoder system as a matrix system similar to Dolby Surround or Dolby Pro-Logic decoding. The difference, he says, is that Circle Surround is a full-bandwidth system that handles both encoding and decoding, giving the content provider greater control over what audio is sent to a given channel.

"It uses a 6.1-channel [it can also handle a center rear channel] rackmount encoder that can interface with the broadcast console and encodes all of the surround signals down to two-channel LT/RT, which can be distributed over existing infrastructure."

The system is also backwards compatible with Dolby Pro Logic encoding, which means that consumers with Pro Logic receivers can still get a surround experience, although Kraemer says it will be subject to the limitations of the decode.