All you need to know about DTS Play-Fi
DTS Play-Fi was in Mayfair for a couple of days, so StereoNET arranged a meet-up.
We took the opportunity to catch up with the folks from DTS Play-Fi to find out what's going on from Founder and General Manager of DTS Play-Fi, Dannie Lau.
What is DTS Play-Fi?
DTS Play-Fi is a hi-res (24bit/192kHz) wireless audio ecosystem that enables you to stream content between different compatible devices throughout your home.
There are other multiroom solutions but, unlike most others, DTS Play-Fi works across a vast number of brands including Quad, Arcam, McIntosh, Klipsch, Anthem, Paradigm, Sonus faber, Wharfedale, and lots more. In fact, DTS Play-Fi boasts being the most extensive product ecosystem in the whole-home wireless audio space with more than 200 interoperable speakers, soundbars, set-top boxes, and A/V receivers from the top names in premium audio.
Content-wise, Amazon's new HD service has recently joined the likes of Deezer, Tidal, Spotify, Qobuz, DNLA, Napster, as well as TuneIn, Radio.com, etc.
All you have to do is download the app, choose the device(s) you want to send your tunes to, select the music source, and Robert is your mother's brother.
Moreover, you can connect up to 32 DTS Play-Fi products to your home network and then use Amazon Alexa and, thanks to AirPlay 2 integration, Siri, to control playback using nothing but your voice.
It was impressive to see that control, whether voice, via the app, or remote, can be switched back and forth without tripping any of the devices over. In the demonstration, playback was triggered by voice on the Arcam system, and then another voice assistant was used to change the channel and the 'room'. Finally, the app used to send some classic Van Halen to the Arcam.
Naturally, the kit has to have Alexa baked into it, or you can use an Echo device to kick Alexa into action. Similarly, a HomePod will add Siri to the mix as well as using AirPlay 2.
Additionally, we watched YouTube on the telly (more on that in a sec) with the audio coming through a soundbar. The audio was then also added to the Quad Vena II behind us. That was pretty cool but what was more impressive to us was that everything remained in sync with what was happening on the telly.
Philips has announced that they are bringing DTS Play-Fi enabled TVs as well as soundbars and speakers to the party.
The announcement means that wireless surround sound and whole-home TV audio streaming joins multi-room music and wireless headphone support.
We sat in a hotel room kitted out with a Philips television and a range of different branded speakers/players and the clips that we were shown sounded great, without any lag thanks to the system's sub-millisecond synchronisation accuracy.
Also, Sharp will join the ecosystem with a DTS Play-Fi enabled 5.1.2 soundbar coming to market in 2020.
We were told that it would feature surround sound, perfectly synced multi-room TV audio, app-based headphone streaming, and compatibility with high-resolution music services.
Even more to come
Interestingly, as DTS Play-Fi is software-based, it can be added to virtually any system. This opens up to even more products coming on board in the future.
This year's already impressive list includes the Audiolab 6000N Play, McIntosh RS200, Onkyo TX- RZ3400, Pioneer SC-LX904, Quad Vena II Play and updated Arcam rPlay featuring AirPlay2 and Works with Alexa. Still, we can be sure there are more on the horizon.
We did ask about the possibility of DTS Play-Fi being added to the likes of set-top boxes and, even though our question was met with a knowing look, no specifics could be wheedled out. We're taking that as “watch this space”.
Wireless streaming, as far as we are concerned, is finally at a point where it is more than merely a handy way to squirt audio around your home. The quality has been there for a while in the propriety tech of Goldmund, Piega, and the likes. However, after listening to DTS Play-Fi on a range of hi-fi kit, we can confidently state that the quality is finally now there in a more open ecosystem.
Does this mean that 'audiophiles' will be rushing to sell their physical music collections? Well, we can't see that happening any time soon. However, what we can say is that wireless streaming no longer has to be viewed as the poor cousin, if done right - and from what we heard in the Mayfair hotel room, DTS Play-fi certainly sounded right to us.
Stay tuned as we are hoping to see some DTS Play-fi equipped gear gracing our racks in the not too distant future.
StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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