DTS Details DTS:X Rollout In Home Theaters

Home audio suppliers to start rolling out object-based surround format in summer
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Calabasas, Calif. – Home audio/video receivers (AVRs) and audio/video processors (AVPs) incorporating DTS:X object-based surround decoding will be available starting in the summer, and work is underway to incorporate the technology on Blu-ray discs, in streaming services, and in cinemas, DTS said.

Nine home audio brands so far have confirmed they will offer audio components with DTS:X, which competes with Dolby Atmos. Other manufacturers and models will be announced in the coming months, DTS said.

The announced brands and products consist of the following:

--Denon’s currently available AVR-X7200W will get a DTS:X firmware upgrade later in 2015.

--Integra will launch several components by fall 2015.

--Marantz’s currently available AV8802 AVP will get a firmware upgrade later in 2015.

--Onkyo will launch several models by fall 2015.

--Pioneer will offer DTS:X, but details weren’t disclosed.

--Steinway Lyngdorf plans summer availability of the P200 AVP, with a DTS:X firmware upgrade in fall 2015.

--Theta Digital will offer the Casablanca IVa AVP in the summer.

--Trinnov Audio’s currently available Altitude32 AVP will get a DTS:X firmware upgrade in the summer.

--Yamaha will launch DTS:X-ready components in the fall.

The company’s website also points to 2015 products from Anthem, Krell and McIntosh.

DTS:X AVRs in 2015 will be able to support up to 11.2 speaker-output channels and could support up to 32 speaker locations subject to the capabilities of each manufacturers products, DTS said.

DTS reiterated that manufacturers representing almost 90 percent of the home AVR and AVP market will launch DTS:X-enabled products starting in early summer. And DTS:X is available for 2015 AVR silicon platforms from companies representing the majority of the DSP platform market share, including Cirrus Logic, Analog Devices and Texas Instruments, DTS noted.

DTS:X is positioned as more accurately conveying fluid movement in soundtracks by “moving sound objects to and through specific locations within, in front of, behind, above and beside the audience, precisely where the mixer placed them.”

Studio, cinema plans: The company said it is working with several major studios and mixing stages in Los Angeles, Northern California and Canada in evaluating DTS:X. As for when content will be available to consumers, DTS said, “Content announcements will be made by the studios when ready, in alignment with DTS.”

Cinemas will also play back DTS:X soundtracks, DTS promised. A DTS:X licensing program is underway so theaters can install DTS:X-approved equipment in conjunction with recommended speaker installations.

For theaters, GDC Technology, QSC and USL ae making available DTS:X-ready components that process and render DTS:X object-based files created by mixing studios that use DTS’s license fee-free MDA platform for creating object-based soundtracks

MDA, the company said, gives movie studios control over the specific placement, movement and volume of sound objects. The platform also enables sound engineers to mix once for both object-based and channel-based surround playback, “allowing content to be easily distributed beyond the theater for streaming, broadcast, optical media and more.”

“MDA fits perfectly within today’s production workflow, and a combination of MDA and DTS:X provides a complete end-to-end workflow from creation to exhibition,” said DTS chairman/CEO Jon Kirchner.

GDC Technology develops, manufactures and sells digital cinema servers. QSC designs and manufactures professional audio systems and solutions for professional, production and cinema sound customers. And USL designs, manufactures and sells motion-picture audio equipment and sound processors.

GDC Technology, which has the second largest installed base of digital cinema servers worldwide, is the worldwide DTS:X certification agent for cinemas. GDC will make MDA firmware updates available to theater owners over to its existing installed server base of more than 40,000 servers starting in May. GDC will provide DTS:X installation and certification for about 350 screens throughout Asia beginning in May.

Adaptability in homes, cinemas:  DTS:X “allows the placement of home-theater speakers virtually anywhere” in homes and theaters, DTS said. Object-based audio enables “optimized playback on a multitude of speaker layouts with any number of speakers.” The technology “supports any speaker configuration within a hemispherical layout based around the listening position in the room.”

Said Kirchner, “Until recently, sound in movie theaters and in our homes has been dictated by a standardized speaker layout. Through the use of object-based audio, DTS:X is able to scale immersive soundtrack presentations across a wide range of playback systems, from efficient to extravagant, while staying true to the content creator’s vision.”

The technology enables remapping of outputs to custom or OEM-defined speaker layouts, and it remaps legacy content to new output configurations, DTS added.

Said Dr. Man-Nang Chong, GDC’s founder and CEO, “Because of the flexibility in speaker layout that DTS:X offers, immersive audio is now available to a larger number of theaters of all sizes than ever before.”

Previously, Kirchner also said an immersive experience could be delivered by a standard 5.1 speaker system without height speakers if manufacturers wanted to implement that capability.

Sound quality: DTS:X supports lossless encoding, but for bandwidth-constrained applications such as streaming, it can operate in a “high-quality lossy mode,” the company said.

The technology supports up to 96k audio for object mixes and supports 192k stereo and multichannel mixes.

It also offers dialog control, letting home-theater users control the volume of specific audio elements, such as dialog, to match their preference. Users could raise dialog volume from background sounds to improve vocal intelligibility. Content creators could also implement the feature when mixing content.

Additional information will be posted later today.

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