DTS impresses with surround quality audio tech
We were drawn to DTS' CES booth by the odd visual of dancers breaking it down to Usher tunes in a miniature house somewhat reminiscent of the Hollywood Squares set, but we stayed to check out the company's Headphone:X technology. DTS promises that users will be able to experience a "home theater in your pocket" by reproducing the sound experience of an 11.1 surround sound experience using only a set of headphones. You hear a lot of big claims at CES, so initially we were skeptical. We were wrong.
DTS to acquire SRS Labs for $148 million
DTS has announced that it will acquire SRS Labs for $148 million in a cash and stock transaction. The deal places a 38 percent premium on the market value of SRS Labs shares at the close of trading on April 16 at $9.50 per share. DTS says the deal will accelerate its growth in the rapidly growing mobile and other network-connected markets, while aligning its codec technology with SRS Labs audio processing technology.
DTS virtual surround via USB
Iogear recently released a USB sound adapter, the Theater Sound Xperience, that brings DTS virtual surround to Windows machines. The hardware accessory is paired with a software utility that provides further options for enhancing music and voice recordings. In our full review, we determine if the device lives up to the company's promises.
Sony opens CEDIA with US launch of 3D headgear, 4K
Sony opened up the CEDIA home theater show with both new and newly US-bound gear. The HMZ-T1 wearable 3D viewer is now coming to the US and should be available in November for $799. The headset has a unique dual-panel OLED that outputs 720p to each eye more naturally than active shutter glasses.
Sony N200, VW95ES, BDP-S185 arrive
Home theater viewers received three new choices from Sony at the IFA show. The SMP-N200 Network Media Player updates Sony's early digital-only box and adds support for both 3D and HD video streaming as well as a new 'concave' design. It primarily taps into Sony's own music and video services, but it can take media from DLNA-equipped devices on the local network and supports the 'throw' sharing from the Tablet S.
PS3 update turns on automatic cloud and expands 3D
Sony late Tuesday put out a new PS3 update catering to its online and 3D users. The 3.70 upgrade makes cloud saves automatic for those who have the PlayStation Plus accounts needed for the service. Gamers can flag individual games for automatic uploads and guarantee that certain games' saves are always available.
Pioneer Elite receivers carry AirPlay, Air Jam
Pioneer wrapped up the week by adding two new Elite receivers with a heavy emphasis on their iOS links. The 7.1-channel SC-55 and 9.1-channel SC-57 hubs revolve chiefly around their new, Class-D3 amps. The two have quicker response times and reduced total harmonic distortion even as they consume less power and generate less heat.
Yamaha Aventage adds 9.2ch and more mobile
Yamaha on Tuesday revamped its Aventage home theater receivers with an increased focus on mobile. The entire line, the RX-A710, RX-A810, RX-A2010, RX-A1010, and RX-3010, now has complete support for both iPhone remote control as well as front USB ports to play music directly from iOS hardware. Android is also finally getting support and will have its own remote app in the fall.
We review Logitech's Z906 speakers
The Logitech Z-5500 achieved an almost cult-like status among a certain slice of the computer and gaming markets, and for good reason: along with a fierce level of power, they were one of the few surround sound setups equally suited to both a gaming PC and a home theater. With the arrival of the Z906, Logitech is blurring the lines even further. We're checking in our Z906 review whether it still has that credibility and if it's the sleeper choice for 5.1-channel audio.
Logitech intros Z906 surround sound audio
Logitech produced a sequel to one of its best-known speaker lines on Wednesday and launched the Z906. As a successor to the veteran Z-5500, it builds on the formula of a THX-grade, 5.1-channel surround system and still puts out 500W of sustained power, 165W of which comes just from the subwoofer. The new design is shaped to stack easily in a home theater and can have as many as six devices attached, including Blu-ray players, game consoles, handhelds or computers.
Pioneer ships 3D Blu-ray players in Elite family
Pioneer hoped to seize on last-minute Christmas shopping Wednesday by shipping its promised 3D-capable Blu-ray players. The regular BDP-430 as well as the Elite BDP-41FD and BDP-43FD all have HDMI 1.4a both for stereoscopic 3D and for 36-bit color when the source and the TV support it. The electronics giant's iControlAV iOS app (free, App Store) will also stand out by giving iPhone and iPod users a way to steer the player over a local network, although this needs a firmware update.
Buffalo outs 1080p home media player in Japan
Japanese electronics maker Buffalo has introduced its LT-V100 Link Theater media player. It can stream or play local 1080p video content from a USB-attached drive. The player has DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio support, while supported video formats include MPEG-2, MPEG-4 SP/ASP, and H.264 (AVC).
Sony STR-DN1010 handles 3D TV, iPhone
Sony today gave one of its company firsts in 3D to one of its mid-range AV receivers. The STR-DN1010 replaces the DN1000 (shown) and adds support for passing through 3D video from a Blu-ray player, PS3 or other source using any one of its four HDMI outputs. As the best receiver outside of the ES line, it also gets full 7.1-channel Dolby and DTS audio processing at 110W per channel, supports S-AIR wireless audio and carries a port for an iPhone- and iPod-capable audio dock.
Sony BDP-S470 to support 3D, iPod remote
Sony today touted a pair of firsts in a new Blu-ray player. The BDP-S470 is its first player explicitly labeled as 3D capable and will show the format in 1080p with a firmware upgrade due to arrive in the summer. It's also one of the first that can be controlled through an iPhone or iPod touch: a recently launched BD Remote app (free, App Store) not only provides basic control but will show related content for a given movie.
JVC intros first 5.1-channel sound system
On Monday, JVC introduced two new soundbar surround sound speaker systems, including the first wireless system, the TH-BA3, along with the slim but wired TH-BS7. The former is completely wireless between the subwoofer and rear speakers, and is rated at 280 watts across its 5.1 channels. The sound bar has four speakers, with the two outboard ones acting as the front right and left channels, with the two in the middle being the center channel. It also houses the power amplifier, surround decoding, system controls and the transmitter for the wireless surround speakers.
Panasonic car BD player
Panasonic in Japan on Thursday introduced the first Blu-ray player made for cars with its CY-BB1000D along with a conventional but HD-capable counterpart, the HX-3000D. The former sports an HDMI input and 7-inch display with 1280x720 resolution that will play the Blu-ray content in HD. While the player will support Bonus View content on compatible BD media, accessing BD-Live content that requires an Internet connection isn't an option.
Sony 400-disc B Ray Player
Sony this afternoon aggressively bolstered its Blu-ray player lineup with three high-end models. The BDP-CX960 MegaChanger is built to address a whole movie collection and manages 400 titles whether they're Blu-ray, DVD or audio CD. It also has an Ethernet port that helps auto-tag movies and music for easier searching as well as BD-Live support for newer Blu-ray releases.
Onkyo SR607 Receiver
Onkyo has launched a trio of new AV receivers that are topped by an industry first. The TX-SR607 is the first to include Dolby Pro Logic IIz support and can add a vertical dimension to the sound in movies that support it: the element lets home theaters with two extra, elevated front channel speakers register sounds that would appear above the movie viewer, such as an aircraft. It additionally brings support for 7.2-channel surround at 90W per channel with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio as well as a rear port for add-ons like an iPod dock or HD Radio tuner.
NAD T 587 Blu-ray Player
High-end home theater maker NAD has made a late entry into Blu-ray players with the launch of the T 587. The dedicated player quickly catches NAD up to rivals with both Profile 2.0 support, which adds support for BD-Live and other Internet-related special features, as well as a quick startup time. Unlike even some high-end players, the T 587 is said to load movies in under a minute versus times from rivals that creep over this mark.
Creative X-Fi Surround 5.1
Creative expanded its lineup to the underserved notebook audience with the Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1. The USB device is claimed as the first to both boost audio quality and output in full 5.1-channel surround sound; Dolby and DTS movies, as well as games that support surround through DirectSound or OpenAL, automatically have their video processed and split across a speaker setup. Compressed audio is also cleaned up through the Crystalizer hardware that Creative says restores lost details.
Pioneer's Elite receivers
As part of its home theater product launch on Wednesday, Pioneer USA introduced four new A/V receivers to its Elite line. The SC-07, SC-05, VSX-03TXH and VSX-01TXH feature 7.1-channel surround sound connections and support DTS HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus lossless audio formats. The SC-07 and SC-05 benefit from the same Direct Energy HD amplifier with ICEpower analog class D technology Pioneer uses in its flagship SC-09TX receiver.
DTS-HD for PS3 Next Week
DTS today said one of the longstanding criticisms of the PlayStation 3 would be addressed with a firmware update next week that adds DTS-HD Master Audio for movies on the Sony game console. The addition allows Blu-ray movies and other HD titles to output 7.1-channel surround at a 96kHz, 24-bit quality at up to 24.5 megabits per second. At this rate, the stream virtually equals the sound created in the studio masters that give the DTS format its namesake, according to its creator.