The DTS ship has sailed

by Volker Weber

That's going to hurt a little. Not everyone, but a vocal minority.

I tried to get to the bottom of this DTS issue with Playbar. I spoke to quite a number of people and they are all telling me the same story. Turns out I already got it right. Two forces:

Sonos will also not be licensing it. As you know, much of the Sonos value proposition is streaming music. You can play from local content but data shows that users are replacing local content with streaming very quickly. They see the same happening in video. Even for those who use physical media, players are often connected to the TV which will decode the stream and not pass it through.

So if you are invested in physical media like Blu-rays, you live on a different planet that is quickly shrinking. You can stay put, but Sonos is not going to join you. You will have to look elsewhere. If you are interested in buying a high quality kit with Denon AV receiver and excellent speakers, I have somebody to refer to you. Somebody who recently simplified by throwing out dozens of cables, boxes, and power strips. WAF went through the roof.

Is that clear enough?

[* you have to read about WebM to get a feel of the licensing quagmire around video]


[Cue angry white men who cannot take it anymore]

Volker Weber, 2015-08-18

Sounds almost like my reference case ;). And I am still super happy with my XBOX One delivering all (!) content in Dolby Surround to the Playbar.

Ingo Seifert, 2015-08-18

I can't remember the last time I put a blu-ray movie in my system that needed DTS. Yes it was fun back in the day of physical media, but I stream 100% of my content so I'm just fine. I still keep my AppleTV because I've used a lot of their content, but once I can get HBO Now on the Xbox One that will probably go out of my system.

Leo Wiggins, 2015-08-18

As a high quality but also high price home theatre solution the playbar is sold as (esp. in combination with a Sub, sold for ~1500 EUR both), the license-cost argument is pretty disappointing for customers assuming that the playbar could be used as one stop output device for existing SAT-Receiver and Bluray Equipment.
In these price regions it is simply lame to use "save licensing costs" as argument.

Christian Henseler, 2015-08-18

Looks like I wasn't blunt enough. You don't define the product. Sonos does. They decided not to include DTS. You only get to decide what to buy.

Since you seem to need DTS, you will have to look elsewhere.

Volker Weber, 2015-08-18

You also can watch Blu-ray without dts, can you not?

Christian Just, 2015-08-18

I can't even.

Thomas Meyer, 2015-08-18

Isn't dts for DVDs and Dolby Digital for Blu-Ray?
A few years ago, I bought a HDMI receiver that also plays the s/pdif TV output. All wires hidden. Flat KEF speakers. At the start, I ripped some CDs to flac and streamed them to the receiver (using the tablet app). I still have about 100 cds and the same number of optical discs on the shelf. Nowadays music mostly comes from analog radio (over coax cable) although the receiver could do Spotify Premium. No heavy music users here. Movies are streamed using Chromecast while their sound goes to the receiver.

Jan Van Puyvelde, 2015-08-18

Definitely a huge loss of quality / super sound. If you ever compared Dolby (Digital) vs. DTS sound - either on DVD or BluRay - you will decide pro DTS. Nothing better on a (very) good home cinema set.

Sonos has no chance in here. Sonos is good for "let's have some music in the background" - at least for me. But not for big screen DVD / BluRay movies, and / or 5.1 Surround Sound DVD-Audio, i.e. the King Crimson series (remastered by Steven Wilson), or Pet Sounds (The beach boys) on 5.1 Surround DVD-Audio, and many others. Yes, that's not DTS :) But it is simple super sound. And that is what I want. Still keep my vinyls, 78 and 45 records, my CDs, even some tapes and cassettes of the 70s ... if not only for the look and feel. And yes: I can still play them all. And even if these good oldies are not DTS :)

Stephan Perthes, 2015-08-18

Whoever defines the product, Sonos saying it is inconvenient (cost) when it is all software makes the Playbar a product much less good as it could be. This is not about the players primarily, but the Soundbar more than anything. Let me put it this way: Schade. I paid too much to be an inconvenient minority customer to Sonos that is going on their nerves (and yours?). Apple got that right, and better.

It helps to know how Sonos thinks, I do not have to like it.
But I do appreciate you getting to the bottom of this, thank you.

Alexander Koch, 2015-08-19

Thank you for mentioning Apple. There were very vocal customers who demanded more Bluetooth capabilities on iPhone. If only you could send files via Bluetooth like you could on Nokia handhelds. And the iPhone was the worst, because it would not let you send business cards via Bluetooth. It's only software ... And it does not even cost a thing.

And that is wrong. It does have a cost, even if there is no licensing involved. It adds complexity. If you add all the features customers demand, you end up with Lotus Notes. And once you added five ways of answering an email, you can't take it away anymore. See above at Stephan's comment. 5.1 Surround Sound DVD-Audio? No support for vinyl turntables?

Apple is the canary in the coal mine. They move first. Stopped shipping floppy disks when everyone thought it was madness. Never shipped BluRay because the market was already shifting. Removed optical drives from Macbooks altogether. Now they are going for USB-C. Others will follow.

You don't have to be on the bleeding edge. But you have to take a hint, at least a couple of years later. The DTS ship has sailed.

Volker Weber, 2015-08-19

And before Ben arrives, let me close this thread. Ben "wins" by writing comments when everybody else has left the party. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2015-08-19

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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