Sennheiser promotes streaming solution for assistive listening in cinemas

May 28 2014, 06:00
The basic idea behind Sennheiser’s new CinemaConnect development is to allow streaming on end user devices in cinemas. That way, film lovers with a visual or hearing impairment will no longer have to forgo a trip to the movie theater. The core of the solution developed by Sennheiser is a smartphone app that moviegoers can use to connect to a WiFi network at the theater to access additional soundtracks for audio descriptions or assistive listening.

The audio files chosen by the users are streamed over a multi-channel app on their own smartphones so they can enjoy the film using headphones. It has taken more than three years to develop CinemaConnect, and Sennheiser placed particular emphasis on making the solution simple and convenient to use. Sennheiser worked directly with user groups during the development of the app to ensure this.

According to Sennheiser, CinemaConnect offers a number of benefits to movie theater operators and lenders of the service. For one, the product consists of a streaming server and a WiFi router that provides a closed, dedicated network within the movie theater itself to which users can connect with their smartphones. The streaming server transmits the soundtracks with a very low latency. The system allows users to use their own smartphones and headphones, eliminating the need for movie theaters to lend additional costly receivers. In addition to films, it is also possible to stream all live content on smartphones with CinemaConnect, like a live feed of sporting events, for example.

The CinemaConnect app also helps users search for movie theaters and other venues that offer the streaming technology. The app also comes equipped with a location-finder function. At the same time, Sennheiser is supporting the establishment of an online community ( with a focus on culture and inclusion. The initial version of the community already exists in the form of a blog, and it will be expanded continually.

According to Sennheiser, the development of innovative solutions based on streaming technologies is a key long-term focus. This is why the audio specialist recently founded the subsidiary Sennheiser Streaming Technologies GmbH (SST). “Our mission is to make cultural offerings accessible to everyone, regardless of whether and what kind of disabilities you may have. We have introduced just such a solution for movie theaters in the form of CinemaConnect,” said Sennheiser Streaming Technologies Managing Director Jörn Erkau. “In the coming years, we will continue to drive the development of innovative and inclusive technologies,” he added.

Sennheiser has been working in the fields of audiology and hearing support since the early 1970s. The audio specialist has had a significant impact on technical developments in these areas. “Audiology and assistive listening have been a part of Sennheiser’s core business for decades,” said CEO Daniel Sennheiser. “That is why I am delighted that we are launching an inclusive, trendsetting, and user-friendly product with CinemaConnect.”

In Europe, nearly 32 percent of people with a hearing impairment regularly forgo taking part in cultural events, and in Germany, that figure is about one in every five. These are the findings of a representative study commissioned by Sennheiser, which Ipsos recently conducted in Germany, France, Britain, Spain, and Sweden.

CinemaConnect was unveiled to the public at the Abaton movie theater in Hamburg in May 2014. The Abaton is the first movie theater to install the system − initially for testing purposes, because the product is still in the final stages of development. CinemaConnect will be available in fall 2014 and will include the free smartphone app for Apple iOS and Android. Subtitles for the deaf are planned at a later stage. Streaming audio in different languages will also be possible in the future.
related items