DTS Play-Fi to integrate TV speakers into a wireless, multichannel sound system

Mike Wheatley

DTS, the company behind the Play-Fi wireless sound streaming system, has said “compatible TVs” will soon be able to integrate with supported surround sound speakers to create a more immersive soundstage.


Users who buy one of the compatible TVs will be able to add their display as the central channel in a wireless multichannel system, in addition to just streaming sound from the TV to Play-Fi-enabled speakers and soundbars.

For the uninitiated, DTS Play-Fi is a high resolution, wireless format that enables users to stream content between different compatible devices throughout the home. Users can link their home audio products together to play content coming from the TV, keeping all of it in sync with what’s displayed on screen. It enables features including surround sound, whole-home TV audio streaming, high resolution 24bit/192kHz support, multi-room music and can also power application-based wireless headphones.

The format supports a huge number of audio brands, including the likes of Quad, Arcam, McIntosh, Klipsch, Anthem, Paradigm, Sonus faber and Wharfdale. Because it’s a wireless system, no cables are required to connect those company’s audio products to compatible TVs.

The new Play-Fi Home Theater specification has some advantages over rival formats such as Apple’s AirPlay 2 or Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA), with its biggest asset being that it works over existing Wi-Fi networks. That means there won’t be any need for a specialized dongle or transmitter, which is required with a WiSA-based system, nor is there a need for an HDMI cable to connect the TV to a soundbar or other control module, as is the case with virtually all existing multispeaker soundbar systems.

Up until now it was only speakers and soundbars that worked with Play-Fi, meaning the actual TV couldn’t be used as part of that system. But with the new and soon-to-be-lunched compatible TVs, that will change. The TV’s built-in speakers will be able to integrate into a full surround sound set-up with up to two subwoofers, DTS said.

DTS said the first TVs to support Play-Fi Home Theatre out of the box this autumn, an that compatible models won’t require any additional hardware changes. It hasn’t said yet which TVs will support the format, but what we do know is it already has an existing partnership with TP Vision, whose Philips TVs come with the Play-Fi TV app pre-installed. In addition, Hisense, Loewe and Sharp are also known to be working to integrate Play-Fi with some of their TVs.

A few TV manufacturers have come up with competing, proprietary technologies that make it possible for the TVs speakers to be integrated into a multi-channel setup, as opposed to just muting them in favour of the external device. Samsung Electronics for instance, has its Q-Symphony feature that works on a number of its latest TVs and soundbars, while Sony’s HT-A9 wireless surround speaker package can sync with Bravia TVs to act as a central channel.