Wireless Home Theater is getting a big boost as DTS has decided to expand the capabilities of its Play-Fi platform. Currently, the wireless home theater space is dominated by WiSA, Sonos, and to a lesser extent Samsung through its Q-Symphony feature on select TVs and soundbars.
What DTS Play-Fi Is
DTS Play-Fi is a wireless multi-room music streaming platform. Using a free downloadable app (iOS, Android, Windows), you can stream music from select music services as well as music stored on media servers or PCs, through your Wi-Fi home network to compatible wireless speakers and soundbars. Play-Fi also includes Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast Built-in functionality in select products for access to more music streaming content.
Compatible speakers can be used individually, as stereo pairs, or in groups.
There is also a headphone version of the Play-Fi app (Android, iOS) that allows you to stream music over Wi-Fi from any audio source connected to a Play-Fi wireless speaker, home theater receiver, or soundbar using HDMI, digital optical/coaxial, or analog to a compatible smartphone so you can listen to those sources on the headphones connected to your smartphone (best to use wired headphones rather than Bluetooth).
Play-Fi also works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
A major advantage of DTS Play-Fi is its superiority to Bluetooth when it comes to audio sync (1 ms) between sources and speakers.
There are more than 400 products that support DTS Play-Fi and we were informed by DTS that there are some major new partner announcements forthcoming in the next 30 days in regard to DTS Play-Fi Home Theater including leading TV manufacturers.
DTS Play-Fi Home Theater
Currently, Play-Fi can be used to add wireless surround speakers to compatible soundbars, but DTS is expanding this capability further to include full wireless home theater audio capability for TVs and speakers.
To support this new upgrade, the DTS Play-Fi home theater platform will be incorporated into select smart TVs starting in the fall of 2021. These TVs will be compatible with current and future Play-Fi-enabled soundbars, speakers, and amplifiers.
- Play-Fi Home Theater enabled TVs will support the following options.
- Use the TV to connect wirelessly to a Play-Fi-enabled soundbar or discrete front speakers to improve audio quality without extra wire clutter between the TV, speakers, and home theater receivers.
- The TV’s built-in speakers may be used to function as part of a surround system where the TV can serve as the center channel speaker system and connect to compatible wireless speakers for the other channels in a 5.1 channel setup.
- Support for connecting up to two Play-Fi-enabled subwoofers for better bass coverage for rooms that need it.
- Utilize Play-Fi’s multi-room capabilities to group the TV with Play-Fi enabled speakers for music and TV audio, and app-based headphone listening.
DTS Play-Fi automatically adapts to the number of speakers connected to the TV giving users a modular option to meet the needs of their room or a path to upgrade over time as they purchase additional components.
DTS Play-Fi Home Theater is also surround format agnostic and will pass any format to a soundbar or dedicated home theater speaker system that supports it.
Another advantage of DTS Play-Fi is that it supports 24-bit/192kHz hi-res streaming which listeners can take advantage of if their hardware supports it. All of the major streaming services (minus Apple Music which you can stream using AirPlay 2) are supported by the platform.
This latest move by DTS for Play-Fi is intended to solve two main problems with TV and home theater setups.
- Poor sound quality from today’s thin TVs.
- The hassle of speaker and device wire clutter.
For more information: play-fi.com
UPDATE JANUARY 2022: DTS Play-Fi Expands to More Products and Adds More Capabilities
Related reading: What is WiSA?