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DTS Unveils Neo:X 11.1-Channel Audio Upmixing

Las Vegas – DTS is launching Neo:X
post-processing surround-sound technology, promoted as the first technology to
upmix stereo and multi-channel audio programs to as many as 11.1 channels.

DTS Neo:X adds a pair of
front-height speakers and a pair of front-wide speakers to a traditional
5.1-channel or 7.1-channel surround-sound speaker system.

The first AV receivers and
preamp-processors incorporating the technology could hit the market as soon as
the second quarter of 2011, DTS told TWICE.

The front-height speakers “bring
discrete effects to the vertical dimension,” enabling an aircraft to seem as if
it’s flying overhead, DTS said. The front-height speakers also “elevate ambient
sounds,” such as wind, thunder, background music, public address systems, and
the like.

The front-wide speakers, DTS continued,
widen the front sound-stage image while also providing “smooth and seamless
tracking of front-to-side actions,” such as the sound of a car moving from the
front to the left side of the screen.

Though the Neo:X matrix-upmixing
technology will work its magic on existing two-, 5.1-, and 7.1-channel
soundtracks, DTS said movie studios could also produce Neo:X-optimized
soundtracks. Studios would be able to produce directional cues that could be
heard only through front-height and front-wide speaker channels with no audible
leakage to other speakers, DTS said. The soundtracks would be compatible with
standard 5.1- and 7.1-channel home theater system, DTS noted.

Although it’s possible for any DTS,
Dolby, or PCM soundtrack to incorporate the additional cues, “to get the best
effects out of it, you should use the DTS-HD MA 7.1 [codec],” DTS said.

As a post-processing technology,
Neo:X is promoted as upconverting 2.0-, 5.1-, 6.1-, and 7.1-channel soundtracks
to 9.1 or 11.1 channels. The technology also features cinema, music and game
modes. Cinema mode is designed to deliver a clear center channel with dialog
enhancement and “ambient cues for immersive effects,” DTS said. Music mode
delivers “enhanced immersion in a recorded environment,” and game mode provides
“strong directionality for an interactive experience,” DTS said.

DTS’s demo is not the company’s
first demo of a post-processing technology that upmixes two- and multi-channel
soundtracks to 11.1-channels. At 2009’s CES, the company demonstrated an
11.1-channel technology that it did not bring to market. That technology,
unnamed but part of the company’s Neo technology family, added front-height
channels to a traditional 5.1- or 7.1-channel system and could also be used to
add an extra pair of surround speakers to a 7.1 system. A system using all 11.1
channels would feature six surround speakers, two front-height speakers, and
the traditional front-left, -center, and -right speakers.

For its part, Audyssey Laboratories
already offers Dynamic Surround Expansion (DSX) post-processing technology,
which adds front-height speakers and a pair of image-widening front speakers to
a traditional 5.1-speaker setup to create a system with up to 9.1 channels. The
technology has been available in select AV receivers since 2009.

Dolby Laboratories offers Dolby Pro
Logic IIz, which adds front-height channels to 5.1 and 7.1 systems.