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Home Theater Quality Sound: Creative Labs DDTS-100


Creative Labs has just solved the equation with a decoder that sells for only $150 (169 euros). The DDTS-100 can be plugged into any analog or digital port on any multichannel computer speaker. This means that for a minimum price, you can transform these speakers into a sound system for a home theater. I can already hear the purists getting on my case. They'll say it isn't possible to compare computer speakers to living-room models. Well, actually - yes it is. What's more, computer speakers offer a much better ratio between sound reproduction and price than their equivalents in mass market electronics. But how come, I hear you say? Here again, it's the same old story, money talks. The profit margin in computing is very small which puts the industry in a buyer's market. In mass market electronics, however, the profit margins are very comfortable.

In mass market electronics, manufacturers tend to prioritize design over technology, in order to give the product a more upscale look. At the end of the day, for an equivalent price, it's usually computer speakers that can claim superiority. In fact, top-of-the-range computer equipment is equivalent to entry level in mass market electronics and can well work out as superior to more expensive models, but there are no miracles here either. As soon as you move on to more sophisticated hardware with famous brand speakers, the computer world is left behind. But at what price? On the other hand, Sony, JVC and others offering home theater systems at $1,000 can easily be outperformed by top-of-the range equipment made for the computer market. That's why the big names are probably rather unhappy with Creative's initiative.