The evolution of sound reproduction for consumers that began with mono, added 2-channel stereo, and then included surround sound to the list. Each successive layer acknowledged the continued existence of the other, making the step to the next level of performance a more complex task rather than simply introducing a new reproduction system in isolation. This is the situation confronting the introduction of the 5.1-channel audio format which has been adopted for next-generation digital delivery systems. Special features are needed in the design of the audio system, and new practices are needed in the audio production studio to ensure the successful adoption of the 5.1-channel format in the consumer marketplace. Only once such a goal is reached can there be an opportunity to take further steps in the evolution surround sound format.
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