In all the chaos and excitement that is CES 2023, you may have missed a quiet little announcement from Disney+ that could be music to your ears. Starting sometime in 2023, the streaming video service will be upgrading some of its premier Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) titles, like Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, with the DTS:X 3D surround sound format.
It’s an expansion of the IMAX Enhanced format that Disney+ already uses on some MCU content to provide a more spacious 1.90:1 aspect ratio for key scenes, instead of the usual 2.39:1 or 2.40:1 ratios that create horizontal black bars when viewed on TVs with a 16:9 screen.
Technically speaking, the IMAX Enhanced format has always included DTS, but the new DTS:X soundtrack is called IMAX Enhanced signature sound by DTS, and it’s the first time that the object-based surround sound format from DTS has been offered by one of the major streaming services in the U.S. Currently, DTS:X is supported by Sony’s Bravia Core service, but only on select Sony Bravia TVs and Xperia smartphones.
DTS:X has been adopted very slowly by streaming services, which have all gravitated toward Dolby Atmos. DTS:X enjoys wider distribution on physical media like Blu-ray discs.
But before you pop the champagne,as with all audio and video format news, there are some caveats. In this scenario, the DTS:X soundtrack is tied to the IMAX Enhanced format. As such, your TV (or your AV receiver) will need to be IMAX Enhanced Certified in order for you to get the full experience. Disney says that select TV models from Sony and Hisense fit this requirement, but according to Xperi, the company that owns DTS, there are also many phones that support it too, which number in the millions of devices sold.
We’ve reached out to Disney, IMAX, and Xperi for more details, and will update this post when we hear back.