A dimly lit auditorium, the smell of popcorn and hot-dogs accompanied by the sound of fizzy drinks slurped through straws; the lights dim and a hush of expectation descends, sound fades in from all around, drawing the audience into the illusion of another reality. This is the world of the cinema, but is it possible to recreate this cinematic surround sound experience in the home? In order to address this question it is necessary to understand what is meant by "cinematic" surround sound and to consider some of the challenges faced by those seeking to translate it to the home environment. This article examines these issues through an exploration of the development of surround sound in the cinema and its transference to the home and concludes with a tentative look towards possible future developments.
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