Onkyo announces its first DTS:X compatible receivers

Onkyo just announced this morning their first two 2015 receivers to support the new upcoming DTS:X format (through a firmware upgrade to come later this year). The TX-NR646 and TX-NR747 will offer both 7 channels of amplification for a maximum setup of 5.1.2 speakers.

The other important information is that both will support HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 at the required bandwidth of 18 Gbps.

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First impressions on the Sony XBR-65X850C 4K TV

This is a first set of impressions on my new 4K set, the brand new Sony XBR-65X850C which is part of the 2015 lineup of Sony 4K televisions. I’ve spent the last week and half with the television and I finally think I’ve seen it enough to give you some feedback. The following topics are thrown in no particular order, but at least you’ll be able to hear about the different aspects of the television.

Image Quality

The 65X850C is using a VA panel with direct LED lightning instead of the edge lit models of last year. This is to me a huge improvement and it is obvious in term of image uniformity and almost complete lack of blooming and clouding from the backlight. The result is an image that is almost completely uniform. The only complain is the four corners of the screen that suffer from a certain level of light loss, so when a very bright image is displayed, you’ll notice some darkness in the corners. Nothing too critical, at least way less annoying than clouding.

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The Gunman from Universal will feature Dolby Atmos

From the press release provided by Universal yesterday, it seems that The Gunman, featuring Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance and Javier Bardem, will be presented with a Dolby Atmos track on Blu-ray.

Similar to John Wick, this would be exclusive to the Blu-ray as the movie was not presented with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack in theater. It seems that Universal is strongly pushing for the format now.

As always, the movie details have been added to the list of Dolby Atmos Blu-rays.

Gravity : Dolby Atmos Review

How Reviews Are Done On NextGenHomeTheater.com : Here are some ground rules for review on this site. The first thing is that the movie itself will never be reviewed, as this is not the intention and tastes and opinion regarding movies are up to the viewer. Furthermore, the review will concentrate on the next generation element of the content, so in this case the Dolby Atmos track, while presenting the other aspects. A Blu-Ray 4K would for example be reviewed for visual performance only. There will not be any grades either, just comments and a purchase recommandation in the conclusion.

The Movie

I imagine that most of the home theaters fan will have already seen Gravity once it initially came out and are looking at this Diamond Luxe Edition blu-ray because of the new Atmos track. If you did not see it, well it tells the story of two astronauts, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, who end up stuck in space after a debris field hit them while doing a space walk to upgrade the Hubble Telescope.

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DTS:X details announced, the surprise is not in the home

Last Thursday was the official announcement of DTS:X at the DTS headquarters in  California. I was pretty eager to learn a couple of things at the event, including if my current Onkyo receiver would be updatable to support the format and which movies were going to be announced by DTS on Blu-ray.

Surprisingly, the most important part of the announcement is that DTS is going back in the commercial theater business through a licensing program that will allow them to install their technologies in cinemas around the world. We were awaiting an home-theater only announcement, and finally it seems that the strategy is pretty different, thus delaying the home theater implementation a little bit more that I had in mind.

In the home, DTS:x confirmed what we already knew regarding the format, which is extremely similar to Dolby Atmos with the differences depending mostly on the way the receiver companies will implement the format. Dialogue volume management, which is a great feature in itself, will depend on the studio implementing it or not in their movie mixing, hopefully they will.

DTS did not announce any partnership with studios and no title on Blu-ray, we are looking more at an end of the year  timing, like it’s been the case roughly with Atmos.

On the receiver side, if you don’t have the high-end Denon X7200 or Marantz AV8802, you’re out of luck for a firmware upgrade it seems. According to the press release, they are the only two that will receive an update this fall, while the different companies will release new receivers supporting DTS:X at the same period. Onkyo confirmed to me on social media that they will not be any upgrade path for any of their receiver, including the 1030 or 3030. It’s a letdown, but not a surprise as it just confirmed the rumours.

So it looks like the next real updates on the format will be only this fall, time to go back to Atmos and listen to the available movies. Of course, I’m already on board with updating this fall to DTS:X, as soon as receivers and titles are available. I will keep you updated with any news in the meantime.

Unbroken : Dolby Atmos Review

How Reviews Are Done On NextGenHomeTheater.com : Here are some ground rules for review on this site. The first thing is that the movie itself will never be reviewed, as this is not the intention and tastes and opinion regarding movies are up to the viewer. Furthermore, the review will concentrate on the next generation element of the content, so in this case the Dolby Atmos track, while presenting the other aspects. A Blu-Ray 4K would for example be reviewed for visual performance only. There will not be any grades either, just comments and a purchase recommandation in the conclusion.

The Movie

Unbroken tells the tale of war veteran and olympic athlete Louis Zamperini who survive 47 days in a raft at sea after his warplane crashed just to have to go through even worse things afterwards. The movie is directed by Angelina Jolie and the screenplay adaptation of the novel has been done by the Coen brothers.

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