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Penteo Surround Announces Orban Contract for 5.1 TV

Broadcast leader Orban/CRL is the first to license the new automated stereo-to-surround system from San Francisco–based Penteo LLC. The proprietary process follows closely on the heels of the conversion of U.S. television broadcasts to all-digital. Penteo makes it possible for television stations to effortlessly and automatically broadcast all their legacy stereo programming and stereo commercials in 5.1 surround. Unlike other methods, Penteo 5.1 snaps back automatically to the two original channels for traditional stereo broadcast.Orban is licensing Penteo’s technologies to include in their Optimod-Surround 8585 audio processor and upcoming broadcast appliances.

Robert Orban, chief engineer of Orban/CRL states, “When choosing an upmix algorithm to complement Orban’s Optimod-Surround 8585 audio processor, I auditioned a number of different processes. Of these, only the Penteo Surround upmix sounded like discrete 5-channel while preserving the balance of the stereo source without coloration. I was particularly impressed by its ability to place dialog firmly in the center channel even when the mix included other elements placed around the stereo soundstage. Penteo was the hands-down winner of my shoot-out.”

“The Penteo system is based on entirely new stereo analysis,” says John Wheeler, president and CEO of Penteo. “We believe it’s the first truly significant breakthrough in the art of converting stereo into 5.1 surround sound in the last 15 years. We’re thrilled that this major player has stepped up to the plate.”

Penteo has developed a system of processes and patent-pending proprietary technology that cleanly and efficiently converts any stereo mix of music, film, and TV soundtracks directly into superior-quality 5.1 surround sound. At the core of this system is the new stereo “panorama slicing” algorithm that Wheeler says creates a much cleaner, clearer, more discrete 5.1 surround experience than any other 5.1 conversion technology available today. “Most importantly, our surround masters downmix back to stereo with absolutely no sonic artifacts,” Wheeler says. “Our approach absolutely respects the vision of the original mixing engineers.”

Most recently, the Penteo 5.1 process was used for the Warner Bros. blockbuster Watchmen and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds as the first major motion pictures to take advantage of the new direct stereo-to-5.1 surround sound processing system. Drastically reducing cost and delays, Penteo processed numerous classic songs for theatrical release, including Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence,” Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower,” and Richard Wagner’s full orchestral “Ride of the Valkyries” into 5.1 surround sound for Watchmen‘s top mixing team.

The company recently developed the Penteo/RT broadcast algorithm that converts live stereo broadcasts into 5.1 surround on the fly, giving broadcasters the ability to automatically send out all their programming as a 5.1 mix simultaneously with their stereo transmission. Penteo is currently in discussions to license the technology to consumer electronics makers and professional production hardware manufacturers.

“We view this Orban agreement as strategic validation of our technology and look forward to a strong and growing relationship with Orban/CRL,” says Wheeler. “With their stature in broadcast technology we have a perfect launching pad for Penteo in this new era of quality television, radio and modern media delivery.”

Penteo has created cutting-edge technologies and services that convert any stereo audio into 5.1 surround sound, with automatic downmixing back to stereo. The company has developed proprietary, patent-pending technologies and applications that allow television, film and music industry professionals to convert and deliver their stereo content and assets into superior-quality 5.1 surround sound automatically, setting a new standard in completely down convertible, stereo-compatible 5.1 audio processing.

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