DTS, Inc. (originally Digital Theater Systems) is an American company that makes multichannel audio technologies for film and video. Based in Calabasas, California, the company introduced its DTS technology in 1993 as a higher-quality competitor to Dolby Laboratories, incorporating DTS in the film Jurassic Park. The DTS product is used in surround sound formats for both commercial/theatrical and consumer-grade applications. It was known as The Digital Experience until 1995. DTS licenses its technologies to consumer electronics manufacturers.
The DTS brand was acquired by Tessera in December 2016, then Tessera was renamed to Xperi Corporation.
DTS was founded by Terry Beard, an audio engineer, and Caltech graduate. Beard, speaking to a friend of a friend, was able to get in touch with Steven Spielberg to audition a remastering of Spielberg's film Close Encounters of the Third Kind mixed in DTS. Spielberg then selected DTS sound for his next film, Jurassic Park and with the backing of Universal and its then-parent Matsushita Electric, over 1,000 theatres in the United States adopted the DTS system.
Work on the new audio format started in 1991, four years after Dolby Laboratories started work on its new codec, Dolby Digital.
The basic and most common version of the format is a 5.1-channel system, similar to a Dolby Digital setup, which encodes the audio as five primary (full-range) channels plus a special LFE (low-frequency effects) channel for the subwoofer.
Encoders and decoders support numerous channel combinations, and stereo, four-channel, and four-channel+LFE soundtracks have been released commercially on DVD, CD, and Laserdisc.
Other, newer DTS variants are also currently available, including versions that support up to seven primary audio channels plus one LFE channel (DTS-ES). These variants are generally based on DTS's core-and-extension philosophy, in which a core DTS data stream is augmented with an extension stream which includes the additional data necessary for the new variant in use. The core stream can be decoded by any DTS decoder, even if it does not understand the new variant. A decoder which does understand the new variant decodes the core stream and then modifies it according to the instructions contained in the extension stream. This method allows backward compatibility.
DTS's main competitors in multichannel theatrical audio are Dolby Digital and SDDS, although only Dolby Digital and DTS are used on DVDs and implemented in home theater hardware.
One of the DTS Inc.'s initial investors was film director Steven Spielberg, who felt that theatrical sound formats up until the company's founding were no longer state of the art, and as a result, were no longer optimal for use on projects where quality sound reproduction was of the utmost importance. Spielberg debuted the format with his 1993 production of Jurassic Park, which came slightly less than a full year after the official theatrical debut of Dolby Digital (Batman Returns). In addition, Jurassic Park also became the first home video release to contain DTS sound when it was released on LaserDisc in January 1997, two years after the first Dolby Digital home video release (Clear and Present Danger on Laserdisc), which debuted in January 1995.
In 2008, the cinema division was divested to form DTS Digital Cinema. In 2009 DTS Digital Cinema was purchased by Beaufort International Group Plc. and became known as Datasat Digital Entertainment.