Multichannel sound systems are being proposed and developed for both sound-only and sound-with-picture applications. By far the most work has been aimed at multichannel sound with HDTV, and it is this arena, in the main, which the author will address.: However, the relevant psychoacoustic studies go back to the early 1970s and beyond when workers in the broadcasting and film industries started looking at the possibilities of multichannel sound, at that time with the constraints of a two-channel transmission/distribution system. Studies made at that time on the directionality of human hearing and the perception of various signal attributes are still relevant and will be discussed. The intermediate work of the film industry's developments will be mentioned briefly as a backdrop to the more recent worldwide studies in the broadcasting industry, as it gears itself up to the challenge of multichannel sound. The results of these studies and the work of the international standards groups will be presented.
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