For those who haven’t been paying attention lately, it’s easy to think of DTS as that other surround sound brand. However, somewhat behind the scenes, the company has quitely been cultivating an arsenal of revolutionary new audio products. From its intuitive open source multiroom audio protocol, Play-Fi, to the versatile new object-based surround sound system set to spar with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, there’s plenty to be excited about from DTS. But up to now, much of its new hotness has flown somewhat under the radar.
But this year at CES is something of a coming-out party for the latest from DTS, as the company looks to reassert itself as a dominant force in professional and home audio in multiple categories. DTS is unleashing a host of new products this week at the show, as well as bringing its brilliant new DTS:X surround sound format online and into living rooms.
While a select few of us are familiar with what DTS:X can do for your home audio, the system is finally going to be unleashed to the public in 2016, across a wide group of A/V receivers. Like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X is a surround sound solution that allows individual sound objects — such as a fighter jet, or a buzzing fly — to move freely throughout a hemispheric sonic space. Both systems allow for up to 11 individual channels of home audio, including speakers designed to be mounted on the ceiling. However, unlike Atmos, DTS:X can accommodate up to 32 different speaker locations, meaning the system can maximize the surround experience — no matter your speaker location.
DTS today announced DTS:X will be activating its first two AVR brands via firmware updates, including Denon’s AVR-X7200W (January 28), the AVR-X6200W, and the AVR-X4200W receivers (February 18). In addtion, Marantz’ AV8802A pre-amplifier on (February 4), Marantz SR7010 and SR6010 AVRs (March 3), and the Marantz AV7702mkII pre-amplifier (March 3) will all activate DTS:X this year.
DTS also today announced that both Texas Instruments and Analog Devices have been DTS:X certified to implement its surround sound technology in their devices, as well as announcing that “four major studios” have committed to mixing in DTS:X to bring more content to the market in the coming year.
If Sonos’ carefully-contained wireless system is the Apple of multiroom audio solutions, think of Play-Fi as its Android counterpart. And that means there are a whole lot of Play-Fi speakers you can mix and match to spread the sound throughout your home over Wi-Fi, from multiple manufacturers, and the number keeps growing.
DTS today revealed some crucial new partners in the Play-Fi family, including Rottell and Klipsch Audio. Both companies are currently developing speakers to add to the Play-Fi multiroom universe, with product announcements expected later in the year. Play-Fi partner Polk audio also has a new sound bar to add to the Play-Fi party in the the Omni SB1 Plus, which features patent pending VoiceAdjust technology and is expected to debut in April 2015.
In addition, Play-Fi has added new streaming partners for its products, tacking on Amazon Prime Music, and iHeartRadio to add to current partners like Spotify, TuneIn, and others.
Related: Hands on with Headphone:X
Did we mention DTS’ impressive virtual surround sound technology for standard stereo headphones, Headphone:X? We’ve been following the innovative tech closely since CES 2014, but this year the feature will be slipping into even more products.
For gaming, Headphone:X will land in U.K. headphone maker Tritton’s new Katana HD 7.1 Wireless Headset, set for release in March 2016. That release goes along with recent launches in Logitech’s G633 Artemis Spectrum and G933 Artemis Spectrum gaming headsets, and a wide array of Turtle Beach headsets.
Perhaps most intriguing for the average listener, DTS Headphone:X technology was incorporated into dozens of new Samsung 4K Ultra HD TV models via Bluetooth in March 2015, allowing listeners to get a more immersive listening experience without bothering the rest of the household. We expect the latest Samsung TVs to incorporate the technology, as well, though DTS hasn’t made any specific announcements for 2016. However, we’re still waiting for this impressive tech to make it’s way into more prominent tablets and smartphones, as it’s currently relegated to lesser known entities (stateside, anyway) like Letv, and China’s monster brand, Huawei.
Streaming in HD
To liven up your streaming experience, DTS will be adding DTS-HD surround sound to go with the new run of 4K streaming services coming to your TV. The brand has partnered with multiple brands, including 3DGo, CinemaNow, M-GO and Starz in the U.S., as well as brands from around the globe, including Alibaba Tmall Box (China), CinemaNow UK and Carrefour’s Nolim Films (Europe), and Thailand’s Primetime.
Finally, DTS has announced some interesting new partnerships for car audio. The brand acquired HD Radio in October, which offers new FM channels designed for a clearer listening experience in the car, without the subscription fees of SiriuxXM satellite radio. New car models on the list include the Cadillac CT6, Honda Civic, Kia Rio, Lexus RX, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Prius c, along with aftermarket brands like Alpine Restyle, Clarion, Pioneer, Sony, and Kenwood.