IMAX in partnership with DTS have now announced a new home entertainment-focused program called the “IMAX Enhanced program.” This is a certification and licensing program which looks to ensure the quality of video and audio products entering the home are of a certain quality. According to the joint announcement, consumers can expect the arrival of the program this Fall.
Like most certification and licensing programs, the idea here is that manufacturers of audio and visual hardware (and software) products will need to comply with a certain minimum quality to gain the IMAX Enhanced program’s official stamp of approval. From the consumer perspective, buyers of new products will be able to identify products based on their IMAX Enhanced program-certification and purchase knowing they have reached a set of minimum standards set out by the companies. Further adding to the certification appeal, the announcement states these “enhanced devices” will also come equipped with an “IMAX Mode” which once activated will further tune and optimize the experience to ensure content is received “as the filmmaker intended in the home.” This will be further achieved by optimizing the content to match the hardware-certified quality. For example, enhanced versions of blockbuster movies from select Hollywood studios which make use of “vibrant colors, greater contrast and sharper clarity,” in addition to additional non-movie programming, as well as compatible content available directly from IMAX.
In short, IMAX and DTS are looking to offer an end-to-end certified user experience which will offer the visual quality associated with the IMAX brand (including digitally re-mastered 4K HDR content) and the audio quality associated with DTS. Along with the suggestion the experience can exponentially continue to improve. For example, while one IMAX Enhanced device will offer an increased experience in general, the more IMAX Enhanced devices that are added to the equation (4K displays, projectors, sound bars, etc) the better the experience will continue to get, according to IMAX. In spite of the program only now having been announced, and not actually due to arrive to market until later in the year, it is somewhat hitting the ground running with IMAX and DTS confirming that a number of companies have already signed up to be part of the program. At the studio level, confirmed partners include Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures, while at the hardware level, IMAX Enhanced devices are expected to arrive first from Sony, Denon and Marantz. With the expectation the list of confirmed studio and hardware partners will increase in due course.