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DTS Announces Play-Fi Updates, High Res Audio Support at CES 2017

DTS builds upon manufacturing partnerships in the wireless whole-house audio market through the addition of high-resolution audio to its Play-Fi platform.


Following its recent acquisition by Tessera Holding Corporation, DTS, will showcase its expanding array of technologies across a wide array of products and services at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. 

Building upon a strong 2016 for the company, Jon Kirchner, president, Tessera Holding Corporation, says DTS' goal for this year is to continue to grow by meeting the needs of today's audio consumer in a variety of categories.

“In the past year, DTS has substantially grown its list of partner products and services incorporating DTS next-generation audio technologies for the home, mobile devices and autos,” states Kirchner. “In 2017, DTS will continue to innovate and expand its reach enabling listeners to experience enhanced entertainment no matter where they are. We are proud to highlight the latest updates and implementation progress of the DTS Play-Fi, DTS Headphone:X, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X and HD Radio technologies.”

Highlighting some of the areas of growth the company is targeting, DTS will look to expand its holdings in the wireless whole-house audio, personal audio and home theater categories. 

Distributed Audio Momentum 

A few years ago DTS launched its Play-Fi technology, which provides listeners the flexibility to stream their music wirelessly in high-quality lossless audio from smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktop PCs over an existing home Wi-Fi network to speakers throughout the home.

Today the DTS Play-Fi ecosystem features a large collection of products. DTS points out one of the advantages of Play-Fi over proprietary closed system solutions is that its products with more than 30 interoperable speakers, soundbars and receivers from the top manufacturers, including Anthem, Arcam, Autonomic, Definitive Technology, Fusion Research, Integra, Klipsch, MartinLogan, McIntosh, Onkyo, Paradigm, Pioneer, Polk Audio, Rotel and Sonus.

This Play-Fi technology enables lossless multiroom wireless audio streaming from the world's most popular music services that include Amazon Prime Music, Deezer, iHeartRadio, KKBox, Napster, Qobuz, QQ Music, Pandora, SiriusXM, Spotify and Tidal. Play-Fi also offers thousands of Internet radio stations, as well as the ability to play networked music from local libraries.

Focusing specifically on what to expect from its Play-Fi partners, DTS says to look for these new updates in 2017:

  • Arcam: The company's rPlay wireless music receiver, set for launch in 2017, will debut at CES 2017.
  • DISH: The DISH Hopper3 and Joey will be DTS Play-Fi enabled in January 2017. After the update, DISH subscriber homes with Hopper3 DVRs and Joeys will be able to play synchronized music through the home on connected speakers in the DTS Play-Fi ecosystem.
  • Pioneer/Elite/Onkyo/Integra: Pioneer, Onkyo and Integra have announced more than 100 products that will receive Play-Fi updates in 2017, including the flagship Integra DRC-R1, Onkyo PR-RZ5100, Onkyo TX-RZ3100 and Pioneer SC-LX901.
  • Soundcast: Upon launch in 2017, the VG10 will be the first portable, outdoor speaker with DTS Play-Fi technology on the market.
  • THIEL Audio: Play-Fi technology will be integrated into several models of THIEL’s new AURORA LifeStream wireless speaker system. The products will also be compatible with Amazon Alexa upon the DTS Play-Fi firmware update.

DTS notes that new far-field microphone-equipped Play-Fi products featuring built-in Amazon Alexa capabilities will launch from Klipsch and Phorus in 2017 that will enable customers to use the Alexa voice service to control a variety of devices.

In addition to the newly introduced products, DTS says there are new Play-Fi features being demonstrated that include:

  • Smart Watch Support: Enables control of the DTS Play-Fi system and music streams from Android Wear and Apple watch devices.
  • Discrete Speaker Support For DTS Play-Fi Wireless SurroundIn: In addition to being able to pair two Play-Fi products to a compatible soundbar to create a true 5.1 surround system, listeners can now also configure a single DTS Play-Fi end-point as Surround Left and Surround Right in the DTS Play-Fi Surround setup. This is perfect for DTS Play-Fi amps, preamps, and receivers that can power or drive a set of satellite speakers.
  • 24/192 Critical Listening Mode: DTS Play-Fi technology now supports native rendering of any resolution configuration up to 24-bit/192kHz, without the need to downsample or transcode the files beforehand.
  • Enhanced Spotify Playback: Listeners can now fully control their Spotify Connect zone (or any remote zone) from the DTS Play-Fi app.

DTS Adds to Personal Audio Category 

DTS' Headphone:X technology provides listeners with a heightened awareness and an increased sense of realism within games, movies, music and other content tuned specifically to headphones. DTS is expanding its Headphone:X footprint partnerships through agreements with companies like ASUS, HP, Huawei, LG Electronics, Logitech, Lucid Sound and SteelSeries.

In other areas of personal entertainment, the company is supporting virtual reality through cinema experiences on the Gear VR and Oculus Rift. DTS says the demos will showcase how DTS next generation technology uses localized, spatial and head tracked audio rendering to deliver the most realistic experience possible for the user.

Additionally, the LG TONE Studio neckband-type wearable personal speaker, which will be available in the first quarter of 2017, is said to create a personal surround sound experience with four external speakers based on DTS Sound tuning technology. 

DTS Evolves Home Theater Technologies with Virtual:X 

This year dealers and their clients can look forward to DTS' latest generation of immersive sound when it launches Virtual:X. This next-generation technology translates 11.1 content into a format that can play back on a traditional 5.1 speaker setup to deliver a compelling immersive height experience for consumers.

DTS says it developed this format to support the wide range of listening applications that are utilizing surround sound. Some of those applications include the increasing number of Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray movies with DTS:X immersive audio and systems that do not have height speakers in configurations such as in-ceiling speakers or upward firing in-room speaker modules.

Helping its OEM partners, DTS explains it is addressing this scenario through its proprietary audio post-processing that allows consumers to enjoy an immersive experience from their existing, traditional 5.1 speaker arrays. DTS emphasizes that Virtual:X also addresses smaller multichannel surround systems, including 2.1 and 3.1 systems.

Virtual:X was introduced in the fall of 2016, and processing chip support will come in the first quarter of 2017 from Analog Devices, RT-RK for Cirrus DSPs and Texas Instruments. The home electronics top A/V receiver and soundbar manufacturers will adopt the format, which includes new partners like Yamaha. 

DTS can be found at CES 2017 in booths LVCC Central Hall #14546 and LVCC North Hall #5625, as well as meeting rooms across the Renaissance.

About the Author

Robert Archer
Robert Archer:

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass.


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