Samsung and Google’s IAMF Spatial Audio is an open-source Dolby Atmos killer


Samsung HQ behind beautiful purple leaves

After finally adding Dolby Atmos playback support in its TV sets, Samsung is already looking to move onto its own technology. Partnering with Google, Samsung has created its own in-house Dolby Atmos clone for its new TVs.

The Samsung and Google partnership has resulted in the first open-source Spatial Audio technology, dubbed IAMF (Immersive Audio Model and Formats). This means that other companies will be able to work on and improve the technology for everyone to use.

Since the tech started development in 2020, Samsung and Google have worked alongside the Alliance for Open Media to perfect its Dolby Atmos competitor. Furthermore, as the technology is open-source, more hardware and software can adopt the Spatial Audio tech without having to pay an egregious licensing fee.

Just like Atmos, IAMF supports multi-directional audio travel. This includes vertical sound — allowing users to hear helicopters flying overhead — alongside the typical stereo soundscape. Google and Samsung also added AI scene analysis into its technology, allowing for non-IAMF software to be mapped and adapted into a Spatial Audio format.

Alongside the aforementioned features, IAMF support also allows for user customised audio profiles. Using track splitting, the software will allow users to boost dialogue, sound effects, music or other aspects of audio playback to their liking. (Maybe boost up the dialogue in some Nolan movies, ey?)

"In order to allow people to freely create content with 3D audio technology, related technology needs to be open to all,” said Samsung Research Visual Technology Team member WooHyun Nam. “Providing a complete open-source framework for 3D audio, from creation to delivery and playback, will allow for even more diverse audio content experiences in the future."

While Samsung’s involvement in the Dolby Atmos killer is exciting, the fact that any company will be able to make use of IAMF Spatial Audio is even more exciting. While Dolby technology such as Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos is brilliant, license fees have restricted many TV brands and other companies from adopting it as much as fans would like.

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