The DTS Play-Fi Home Theater promises immersive, affordable audio

By Microsoft 7 Min Read
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You love immersing your self in spatial audio, however you are not thrilled with the mess that comes with the complexity of an A/V receiver and meters of speaker cables snaking round your room and climbing its partitions. You’ve heard soundbars that declare to ship Dolby Atmos and DTS:X from a single cupboard, however dismissed as unacceptable compromises, even when accompanied by a wi-fi subwoofer. Can nobody provide the audio expertise you need?

Xperi says it is potential with DTS Play-Fi Home Theater, a 12-channel wi-fi encompass sound structure it confirmed off at CES final week. Leveraging the Wi-Fi Direct normal (extra on that in a bit), DTS Play-Fi Home Theater elements join immediately to one another with out overwhelming your Wi-Fi router or wi-fi community. And the one cable every self-powered speaker on this system wants is an influence wire.

origin 1Justin Gibbins, DTS product supervisor, demonstrates DTS Play-Fi Home Theater streaming encompass sound in a room stuffed with audio system, with out cables.

Jonathan Takiff/Foundry

DTS Product Manager Justin Gibbins gave me a non-public tour of the DTS Play-Fi Home Theater eventually week’s present, and I used to be impressed with each the readability and supreme spaciousness of the wi-fi sound alerts buzzing in entrance, round, and above the top, courtesy of the Netflix sequence with Dolby Atmos encoding Formula 1: Driving to outlive and Miley Cyrus’ gripping cowl of “Sweet Jane.” Hmm, it was even born when did the Velvet Underground reduce the unique?

Having lengthy been acquainted with DTS Play-Fi, I feared that the usual’s sound high quality could be compromised on this new variant, provided that its wi-fi bandwidth is now tasked with carrying a dozen channels, when it was anticipated to deal with solely two to 6 at most. –in its authentic type. The demo allayed my issues.

“Each channel is broadcast essentially at the same quality as it arrives,” Gibbins defined. “It will likely be wherever from the bottom 8kHz mono sign you would possibly get from a radio stream, all the way in which as much as the 24-bit/96kHz stereo sign coming from a music supply like Tidal, Amazon, or no matter. And the identical goes for encompass sound. With content material primarily based on Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, what we ship ought to usually have the identical bit fee and high quality that you’d get from over-the-top streams.”

Your dwelling Wi-Fi community solely offers a two-channel audio stream to your TV or soundbar. That element makes use of its personal processing energy to then carry out a multiplicity of channels. DTS circuitry then comes into play, utilizing Wi-Fi Direct protocols to unfold this wealth of alerts to the receiving audio system, “leaving your property Wi-Fi community out of the method,” Gibbins stated.

origin 1A Philips Fidelio FB 1 soundbar anchored the demo.

Jonathan Takiff/Foundry

I used to be much more impressed by the minimalist assortment of apparatus wanted to deliver the present to life. There was none of that nightmarish complexity that ruins dwelling decorators’ sleep and makes customized installers, with their “Sure, we will cover these wires” promises, piles of cash.

DTS Play-Fi Home Theater can theoretically juggle as much as 12 discrete channels in numerous methods. At the second, it runs with a 7.2.4 structure: that is 7 foremost audio system; 2 subwoofers, sharing a single channel; and 4 drivers that fireplace upwards for top results. In addition to Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, IMAX Enhanced and PCM supply materials, the distribution format also can work with up- or down-mixed alerts from a streaming service, a soundbar or the TV itself. If your TV has built-in DTS circuitry, you should utilize the TV’s inner audio system because the entrance heart channel.

origin 1DTS Product Manager Justin Gibbins streamed Miley Cyrus’ cowl of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane.”

Jonathan Takiff/Foundry

DTS Play-Fi Home Theater also needs to work Dolby’s new FlexConnect solution for customized tuning and balancing disparate and oddly positioned audio system in a spatial audio setup. Dolby’s resolution looks like a variation on the speaker tuning that Harman is engaged on in its new one JBL One platform.

“The idea is that we simply act as a data path for this audio information to go wherever it is needed,” Gibbins stated. “So, we’re trying to do right by everyone in that regard.”

The large query is: will dwelling theater tools producers embrace the transfer? My demo was constructed round a Philips flat-screen TV with built-in Play-Fi Home Theater processing, a set at present bought solely in Europe. When I requested Gibbins what different TV makers had this circuit, he reeled off the Telefunken, Loewe, and Vestel manufacturers, different TV makers that are not current in right this moment’s U.S. market.

The CES demo was additionally enriched with a sequence of Philips-branded Play-Fi audio system I’m obtainable within the US: a Fidelio FB 1 multi-channel soundbar ($750), a Fidelio F1W wi-fi subwoofer ($500), and 4 of its FS1 compact Wi-Fi audio system ($260 every). The latter push a monophonic channel ahead and a separate spatial channel -effects channel upwards.

I’m instructed that top-of-the-line soundbars from Hisense and TCL, obtainable now or coming to the US market, are additionally able to processing DTS Play-Fi Home Theater. But nearly each Play-Fi-compatible Wi-Fi speaker made within the format’s 12-year historical past, from the likes of Definitive Technology, Polk, and SVS— also can get in on the motion, functioning as single channels in a DTS Play-Fi Home Theater setup.

It’s been reported that TCL will make the leap in 2024 to deliver the primary DTS Play-Fi Home Theater TVs to the US market, however the firm had nothing to say on the subject at CES final week.

Watch this area.

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