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DTS Readies Neo X Announcement

The future of DTS Neo X post-processing technology, demonstrated at last year’s International CES, will be revealed in mid-2010, DTS president Jon Kirchner told TWICE.

“We’re working to further improve the audio experience,” Kirchner said.

The technology, tentatively code-named Neo X, adds two front-height channels to 5.1- and 7.1-channel surround systems, but it could also combine the two front-height speakers with two additional horizontal-plane surround channels to create an 11.1-channel surround system.

“Companies were ready to sign up last year” to add Neo X to audio components, said executive VP/GM Brian Towne.

Although hardware companies haven’t been able to sign up for Neo X, movie studios have signed up to offer a growing selection of Blu-ray discs with DTS, DTS HD High Resolution and DTS HD Master soundtracks, the company said.

DTS technologies are used for the primary soundtracks on more than half the discs released to date in North America, said Towne. “The industry has gone significantly in our favor,” Kirchner added, attributing the gains to the technologies’ “quality edge,” DTS-supplied mixing tools that make it easy to create DTS soundtracks, and the company’s support, Kirchner said. More than 200 titles are mastered in 7.1-channel DTS HD Master, which uses lossless compression techniques.

Studios are moving from multichannel PCM soundtracks to lossless compressed DTS HD Master to save disc space and benefit from DTS’s brand recognition, he added.

While it makes gains in physical media, DTS plans to expand its technologies to on-line media in the next few tears, Kirchner added. The technologies could include DTS HD Master for homes with a “fat” broadband pipe and DTS Express for more bandwidth-limited applications. DTS Express is mandatory in Blu-ray players to stream BD Live audio content via the Internet, Kirchner said. BD Live soundtracks can also be encoded in Dolby Digital Plus.