Time was, Play-Fi was just a twinkle in DTS’ eye, but today it is a wireless multi-room audio force to be reckoned with. Over the past few months, heavy-hitting speaker brands such as Polk, Definitive Technology, and Harman Kardon have announced their wireless speaker products would operate on the Play-Fi standard, and now DTS is adding three more highly-respected brands to its rapidly growing list: Paradigm, Martin Logan, and Anthem.
Sonos gets credit for pioneering the wireless multi-room speaker genre, and for a while, it was the only serious player in the game. But then Bluetooth and Airplay-enabled speakers helped whet consumers’ appetite for wireless music streaming, and since then, that appetite has become voracious. Recognizing this, DTS began developing Play-Fi, a wireless music streaming standard that it aimed to shop out to speaker manufacturers which might be reluctant to invest the capital necessary to develop their own proprietary wireless network streaming system, or buy an off-the-shelf product from a third party.
Play-Fi’s arrival took a few years of development (DTS has been talking up the protocol to Digital Trends for over two years now) but last year Play-Fi made its debut in two speakers, the Phorus, and the Wren V5AP. Since then, Play-Fi has gained real traction among manufacturers, and we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it will add several more partners to its roster in the near future.
What makes Play-Fi so appealing to consumers is that its an open standard, so multiple brands of speakers can be teamed up to work together — you could have a pair of Harman Kardon Omni in the bedroom, and a Martin Logan speaker in the living room, for example. Additionally, Play-Fi supports high-resolution audio, whereas Sonos’ system is currently capped at CD quality. Manufacturers tell us they like Play-Fi because DTS has been extremely supportive, working with development teams to make sure products turn out just right.
Play-Fi may be a relatively new technology now, but don’t be surprised if it gains ubiquitous recognition in the coming months. If DTS is as successful with this endeavor as it has been with the deployment of its surround sound technology, then we can look forward to seeing the Play-Fi logo everywhere in the not-too-distant future.