DTS has returned to cinema sound after 22 years with DTS:X, a new object-based sound technology that’s a successor to DTS HD, and a rival to Dolby Atmos.

DTS:X was introduced back in January, with a focus on home cinema use and then subsequently targeted at cinema chains at CinemaCon in April. Dolby Atmos conversely started life in the cinema before heading to the home.

After an official launch in April, DTS:X is now heading for your home.

You’ll be able to get DTS:X in your home from summer 2015, with a number of audio manufacturers pledging their support. These include: Anthem, Denon, Krell, Marantz, McIntosh, Onkyo, Trinnov and Yamaha. 

But what exactly is DTS:X? And what do you need to take advantage of it in the home? Allow us to explain…

MORE: Dolby Atmos: What is it? How can you get it?

What is DTS:X?

DTS:X is an object-based audio codec that aims to create a multi-dimensional sound that “moves around you like it would in real life”. You may think that sounds a lot like Dolby Atmos, and you’d be right. But where DTS:X differs, lies in the required speaker configuration. 

While Dolby Atmos requires you to add extra height channels to your 5.1 or 7.1 setup, DTS:X will work with standard speaker setups - just like the one you might already have at home. It can support up to 32 speaker locations, which equates to 11.2 setups on 2015’s AV receivers.

DTS says it’s flexible, and will work with "any speaker configuration within a hemispherical layout".

This is thanks to DTS:X's Multi-Dimensional Audio (MDA) platform, which is open and licence-free and allows movie producers to control the placement, movement and volume of sound objects. 

DTS has also made it possible for users to adjust the volume of just the voices on a soundtrack, making once hard-to-hear dialogue, a lot easier to understand. 

More after the break

DTS:X in the home

Fortunately, around 90% of the home AV industry is supporting DTS:X, with many manufacturers either releasing firmware updates for existing receivers, or launching new models later in 2015.

Denon’s AVR-X7200W will receive a firmware update later in 2015, as will the Marantz AV8802 and the Trinnov Audio Altitude32, which will get the upgrade in the summer. Onkyo, Pioneer and Yamaha plan to release compatible receivers by Autumn 2015.

As mentioned earlier, you don’t necessarily need to add extra height channels to take advantage, but the extra channels will create a more effective 3D sound experience. You can listen to a sample of a DTS:X soundtrack on DTS's website.

DTS:X is backwards compatible, so it will work with your current 5.1 or 7.1 configuration. No need to go out and buy a new speaker package, then.

However, DTS hasn’t yet confirmed if you’ll need a new Blu-ray player to support the new audio format, or if the current run of Dolby Atmos receivers will be able to receive an update to support the rival format. Hopefully that information will arrive soon. 

MORE: Denon and Marantz AV amps to get DTS:X upgrade

DTS:X content

So far Ex Machina is the only Blu-ray available with a DTS:X soundtrack. And the disappointing news is that there don't seem to be any more planned any time soon.

It’s possible for Dolby Atmos mixes to be converted to DTS:X, but it’s up to the studios to decide if both codecs can be put on the same disc.

DTS has said it plans to implement the sound technology into streaming titles as well. But for now, it's a case of 'watch this space' for more DTS:X content.

We look forward to getting our hands on some DTS:X products and content very soon, so look out for reviews as and when we do...

MORE: Best Buys: Home cinema amplifiers