DTS will launch its Dolby Atmos rival this month


It was always likely that DTS would move toward an audio system that works in a similar way to Dolby's Atmos, now though we know that it will launch this month with hardware arriving throughout the year.

DTS:X as it's known, is like Dolby's Atmos because it uses object-based audio. In old-fashioned surround sound a movie had its audio mixed into channels. This gives you some steering, and the ability to surround the listener with sound. It's also quite limiting.

Objects of sound

What DTS:X and Dolby Atmos do is turn sounds into objects which they are then able to position in 3D space. It's then up to your equipment at home to rework that into an immersive audio experience. We've seen Atmos in action, and it's pretty marvellous it has to be said.

While the newer systems use objects, channels aren't completely gone. You will, for example, still have a centre channel for dialogue. Only a DTS:X device you may also get the opportunity to adjust the volume of speech or even other parts of the soundtrack. This might help people who find movies lack vocal clarity. The same is possible on Atmos, but most hardware has yet to make the most of this notion.

DTS:X will, much like DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD did, happily exist with Dolby Atmos. Movie makers will choose the system that suits them, and it will then be multiplexed onto the DTS or Dolby soundtrack. It's possible movies will support both formats, and new hardware will also allow you to play both formats. Any AV receiver you have now though, will likely need an upgrade, although no one has ruled-out this being possible with a firmware update as yet. Some AVRs from Onkyo were able to be switched over to Dolby Atmos when it launched, so it's no impossible.

Manufacturers like Onkyo, Denon, Pioneer and Marantz will all make hardware that supports the new format, but those will appear later in the year as they refresh their product lines with 2015 models.