Wednesday, April 8, 2015

DTS:X Details to Be Unveiled at Launch Event on April 9th (eng)

   The immersive audio format wars just got a little more interesting. DTS, who teased us at CES with demos of their object-based immersive surround format DTS:X (but no hard details), just announced a DTS:X launch event for April 9th at their headquarters in Calabasas, California.
   The company will unveil details about how -- and hopefully when -- consumer electronics hardware vendors will have products to support the new surround sound format as well as which studios are on board to bring it home. To date, we've only seen a few hardware makers announce support of the format (including high-end processor vendors Trinnov and Steinway-Lyngdorf), but DTS has said that support for the format will be widespread, from companies such as Anthem, Denon, Integra, Krell, Marantz, McIntosh, Onkyo, Outlaw Audio, Pioneer, Theta Digital and Yamaha.
   For those unfamiliar with the term, "immersive audio," it's the next generation of surround sound. In addition to using speakers in front of you, behind you and (in some cases) next to you, immersive audio also places sounds above your head for a more immersive surround sound experience. Similar to Dolby Atmos, DTS:X is an object-based system which means sounds can be placed in discrete points in space, and will be rendered at playback time, depending on your particular speaker configuration. This is more flexible then a purely channel-based system which hardcodes a mix for a specific number of speakers.
   As for software, we haven't heard from any studios yet of their support for the format, however the company gave out a demo disc earlier this year (at CES 2015) which included clips from movies from Lionsgate ("Divergent") and 20th Century Fox ("Rio 2"). Neither studio has made any formal announcements but we're hoping for more details next month.

DTS:X Demo Disc - 2015
A DTS demo disc given out at CES:2015 left some tantalizing clues as to how the format will come to the home market.

   As with Dolby Atmos and their use of existing codecs (Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus) as the delivery mechanism for Atmos, it appears that DTS will deliver DTS:X in a format that is already in use. The DTS:X cuts on the demo disc all play back on existing gear (players and receivers) in standard DTS:HD Master Audio 7.1 surround. We're guessing that existing Blu-ray players will support the new format by bistreaming the audio track out to a new DTS:X-capable receiver. More details will follow after the event.