In January, DTS announced that Disney+ would make the first films available this year using the new 3D audio streaming format “DTS:X for Streaming”, which is said to be significantly superior in sound to the competing format Dolby Atmos, which is currently used exclusively. But so far the premiere of the subscription video streaming service has been a long time coming. In the run-up to the IFA starting tomorrow in Berlin, DTS is now presenting “DTS:X for Streaming” as an optional sound format on the streaming service Rakuten.tv, where it is available with selected titles from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
It was specifically shown to the author as the sound format of the film “The Equalizer 2”, but behind closed doors. There will be no public presentation of “DTS:X for Streaming” at the stand of DTS parent Xperi (Hall 20, Stand 213). In the background presentations, DTS also focuses on the DTS Play-Fi Home Theater wireless transmission system with up to 12 channels. In this respect, no statements can be made about the quality of the new 3D audio codec.
Launch on Disney+ still planned
In the interview, DTS representatives emphasized that they continue to rely on Disney+ as a partner and hope that the first titles with DTS:X for Streaming as a sound format will be available this year. But the service has the final say here. He recently announced a new “premium tariff” for new customers, which will cost 12 euros per month from November. The cheaper standard tariff (optionally with or without advertising) will no longer offer 3D sound (only Dolby Atmos was mentioned by name).
The first titles with “DTS:X for Streaming” will be so-called “IMAX Enhanced” films, which are already available on Disney+ (see overview here), but so far only offer a different image format. The new 3D sound format has long been promoted by IMAX and DTS as an important part of “IMAX Enhanced”, but the films in question on Disney+ have so far offered 3D sound in the competing Dolby Atmos format. According to DTS, they are also interested in using the new format more broadly in the future, i.e. also using it for films that are not available in “IMAX Enhanced”.
Another interesting question here is which language versions will be available on Disney+ in the new sound format. At Rakuten.tv, “DTS:X for Streaming” is currently only limited to the original English audio. At Disney+, 3D sound is currently only available for the English language version; The only exception is the German original series “Sam, a Saxon”. According to DTS, several films are also available in other languages with 3D sound, but Disney+ ultimately decides here too.
Not available on all TVs
To use DTS:X for streaming, you need an AV receiver or soundbar that supports DTS:X. If the device is also certified for “IMAX Enhanced,” additional audio processing steps are activated via metadata in the data stream.
Ultimately, it is the television that is crucial: Since the new codec was only completed after DTS:X and IMAX Enhanced devices were already on the market, a chip in the TV must convert the incoming data stream in real time into DTS: Transcode IMAX Enhanced variant of DTS:X. At the IFA, DTS showed “The Equalizer 2” via the Rakuten.tv app on a current Philips TV with Android TV as the operating system. Other devices that can process the new audio codec are offered by Sony and, more recently, LG. Samsung, however, has so far been left out. (nij)
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