You see it in more and more speakers and audio devices: Play-Fi. But what exactly is it and what can you do with it? We will discuss this in more detail in this article.
What is PlayFi?
Look at the one box Speakers from PhilipsOr Hisense or TCL and you will see a sticker that says “Play-Fi”. You see the same term in all kinds of other audio manufacturers. Loewe, McIntosh, Onkyo, Polk, SVS – the list is very long. However, Play-Fi comes from DTS, which you may know from surround formats like DTS:X or DTS Master Audio HD. These are also names you sometimes see on a speaker box, and they relate to how the sound is presented in a movie.
Play-Fi is a “platform”. This may seem like a separate word for one function sound bar Or the speaker. However, it does point out that Play-Fi is more than just a streaming function like Bluetooth or AirPlay. Specifically, it is software that electronics manufacturers can integrate into their devices to add streaming options. It’s easy for these brands: they add it and their devices are instantly compatible with all kinds of streaming and Internet radio services.
DTS Play-Fi also offers multi-room functionality. In the app, you can control and connect multiple Play-Fi devices if desired. The linked devices then play the music in sync. It’s an easy way to play the same playlist in multiple rooms. The great thing is that Play-Fi works across brands. For that you can use the Play-Fi app sound bar Connect Brand
What can you do with it?
Play-Fi lets you play music in different ways. Possible sources are:
Multiple streaming services are supported in the app. Fortunately, you can adjust the list so that only services that are useful to you appear. Potential services relevant to the Netherlands and Belgium: Amazon Music, Deezer, Napster, Tidal, Qobuz.
A Play-Fi device can usually also handle Spotify Connect. You don’t use Spotify in the Play-Fi app, you play it directly in the Spotify app itself. One cool trick of Play-Fi is that you can create a Spotify collection. Normally, you could only send music to one speaker or music device via the Spotify app, but now you can link a number of speakers to a virtual speaker to trick Spotify.
What does the application look like?
Once you’ve set up your Play-Fi device, you’ll have to deal with the app. The app then first provides a step-by-step plan for connecting everything to your WiFi network. You can then immediately start using your speaker or audio device.
The Play-Fi home screen displays what’s currently playing. You can see the artist name and track name at a glance, using the media buttons and volume controls below. Use the plus sign at the bottom to connect another Play-Fi device.
By clicking on the streaming service icon, you can return to the selected streaming service or to the overview of music sources (Internet Radio, Services, Special Files). Depending on which source you click, the music selection will be displayed slightly differently. It depends on the service options chosen. Some offer playlists first and then new releases, while others start with your favorites. You can search for each service in the app, which makes finding music very easy.
On which devices do you find it?
DTS has now convinced about thirty companies to use its software. This gives you plenty of options if you want multiple audio devices in the home that can be played together if desired. Therefore, you are not obligated to buy everything from one brand, as is the case, for example Sonos.
Play-Fi is common with sound bars and audio devices that you can connect to your TV. A good example of the latter is the Prime Powered Headphones Pro (two speakers) or the Prime Soundbase Pro (a subwoofer that your speakers connect to) from SVS, both of which have an HDMI input so you can easily connect your TV.
When it comes to speakers, Philips, Klipsch, TCL and Hisense are mainly convinced by Play-Fi users. Philips goes even further by integrating Play-Fi into many of its products TVs. Play-Fi is also included in AV receivers from Onkyo and Pioneer, among others, aimed at people who want to create a surround setup. Finally, there are also many stereo products available.
You will find an overview of the products On this page of DTS. Unfortunately, this list is not very up to date, so a number of products are missing.
Step to surround
The Play-Fi platform has become more powerful over the past year. The software now supports creating a surround setup via the same app you use for streaming. Concretely, this means that you can, for example, expand the soundbar with two Play-Fi speakers that you place next to the sofa. This way you can create a complete surround system that brings you movie and game sound from all sides. This way you become truly immersed in the action.
On paper, Play-Fi can control the surround setup up to 7.1.4. In practice, you’ll often come across speakers that you can expand with a subwoofer and/or two additional rear speakers. As mentioned earlier, Play-Fi also works on Philips TVs. You can then use it to add a separate subwoofer, so your TV speakers sound fuller and more impressive.