DTS XD10 Cinema Media Player

DTS (Digital Theater Systems, Inc.) is addressing the needs of forward-thinking cinema owners with the introduction of their XD Series of high-tech products. The first product launched is the XD10 cinema media player, a hard disk-based multichannel audio content server for the delivery of pre-show and feature presentations in both traditional film and digital cinema formats.

First introduced to the public in 1993 on Stephen Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, DTS-format soundtracks are played back from CD- or DVD-ROM discs in synchronization with the film. The technology is now available on approximately 22,000 screens in 84 countries worldwide.

Chosen in preference to audio CD for its superior error correction and handling of audio as files and sections of files, CD-ROM only became viable as a playback medium after Audio Processing Technology (APT) developed their apt-X100 audio compression method. Using the 4:1 data compression of apt-X100 allows 100 minutes of multichannel audio to be squeezed onto a single CD-ROM, thereby allowing the vast majority of features to fit onto just two discs.

The 3U rack-mounting XD10 unit has been engineered to deliver up to 10 channels of scalable digital surround sound playback and supports both standard apt-X100 and DTS Digital Surround audio formats. Material recorded in standard digital audio at a 44.1 kHz sample rate with apt-X100 digital audio data compression provides up to eight audio channels (DTS Digital Surround) plus two auxiliary channels.
The XD10 additionally offers DTS 96/24 and DTS NEO:6 audio playback. DTS 96/24 presents high-resolution audio quality for multichannel sound on DVD-Video. DTS Neo:6 is a matrix decoder scheme that provides up to six full-band channels (the subwoofer is derived via bass management) from stereo matrix material, also decoding the center-rear channel of DTS-ES (Extended Surround) soundtracks or generating a center-back channel from 5.1 material.

In music mode, Neo:6 will expand non-matrix-encoded stereo material into a 5- or 6-channel scheme. That’s handy for commercials, which are typically delivered in stereo and may benefit from being up-mixed to five or six channels at the theater.

The internal hard drive of the XD10 is capable of storing up to 30 feature film soundtracks and acts as the film’s sole audio source. Two front-panel-mounted 12X DVD-ROM/40X CD-ROM drives are provided to allow the downloading of the feature’s audio data to the internal hard disk. According to DTS, when the film’s two discs are loaded, the system can download the first reel in approximately 30 seconds and then begin to play the film. The remaining reels continue to download onto the system’s hard drive as the first reel continues to play. Once the hard drive’s total capacity is reached, subsequent downloading sequentially replaces previously loaded films.

Once downloaded, subsequent playback is automatic. DTS timecode allows accurate sound and picture synchronization and is also keyed to ensure that films are run with the correct audio tracks. Providing a fallback sound source, films released in the DTS Digital Sound format also contain a traditional analog optical soundtrack (SR, A-type, or mono). The XD10 also performs automatic error detection for further fail-safe operation, automatically alerting users of errors in the digital sound source.

With menu access via a front-panel LCD and associated cursor controls, a customizable playlist feature allows theater managers to rearrange pre-show advertisements or trailers as desired for an integrated presentation. Internal software also provides trailer and pre-show logging and tracking capabilities, which are of great benefit to advertisers, distributors, and exhibitors. The XD10 offers distributors and exhibitors the flexibility of storing multiple language versions of one title or multiple titles in a single repository. The system is also capable of playing back enhanced video for alternate media (a video card is optional).

The DTS format is not solely utilized for theatrical presentations, but also features in special venues such as theme parks and motion simulators. The XD10 supports special venue 70mm large-format film and ride films in 8-channel playback schemes, and is capable of storing up to 60 hours of audio/video information for ride or event films. Additionally, optional software upgrades support DTS-CSS (Cinema Subtitling System) Access technology for subtitling, captioning, and audio description.

In addition to rear-panel RS-232 serial remote connections, current and future networking options for the XD10 are handled via Ethernet and USB. Paired with a cinema processor, the XD10 is an ideal package for theater owners seeking a pre-show and feature film presentation management solution.

For more information contact DTS at 818-706-3525, or visit www.dtsonline.com.

Surround Professional Magazine