Denon and Marantz recently became the first brands to activate true DTS:X functionality on select premium AV Receiver models. These downloadable firmware updates first went live at the end of January and a second wave of model updates should be available tomorrow. The rollout of this highly anticipated object-oriented immersive sound codec is expected to continue throughout 2016 and, according to DTS, is entirely manufacturer dependent.
Yamaha is currently poised to be the second player to release firmware to enable DTS:X on select gear. According to reports, members of the AVENTAGE and RX-V series of receivers along with the YSP-5600 soundbar will be the first to receive the update. Owners of the CX-A5100, RX-A3050, RX-A1050, RX-V3079, RX-V2079, and RX-V1079 should expect the firmware download some time in early March. The YSP-5600 update should drop in late April.
Originally announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2015, DTS:X for home use remained vaporware for the duration of the year. Despite its functional absence and the growing market domination of Dolby Atmos, the fact that new receivers were shipping with the necessary DTS:X hardware onboard has assured the codec a seat at the table, so to speak. Commercial theaters began tapping into DTS:X last August and have shown such hits as Sicario and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. Thus far only four DTS:X Blu-ray titles have hit the streets (Ex Machina, American Ultra, The Last Witch Hunter, Crimson Peak). It will be interesting to see if the codec can trump Dolby Atmos and dominate the market much like its popular DTS-HD Master Audio lossless encode has done for years.
DTS bills DTS:X as “sound unbound,” highlighting the fact that users can playback DTS:X encodes on just about any speaker configuration. I’ve noted, however, that media materials from the company seem to suggest 5.1.2 through 7.1.4 speaker layouts that nearly mirror Dolby Atmos layout requirements. So users should expect there to be some differences in presentation based on how closely their speakers resemble an optimal layout.
Early beta-testing of the DTS:X firmware update on Denon’s AVR-X7200W by AVForums has shown that audio results are “impressive.” Testers ran demo sessions on a full 11.2 Dolby Atmos setup and found similar levels of immersion between the two codecs. They note that one benefit of having DTS:X is bypassing Dolby’s proprietary Surround Upmixing feature for DTS-HD MA encoded movies. DTS:X carries its own upmixing algorithm that can be applied to DTS legacy content.
We’ll continue to monitor the rollout of DTS:X and will keep you updated as more manufacturers announce release dates.
Image Credit: Yamaha, DTS