Digital Theater layoff

Tardy DVD titles lead to DTS pink slips

Theater and consumer sound system maker Digital Theater Systems has laid off seven workers, mainly due to delays in delivery of DVD titles encoded with the company’s audio technology.

The layoffs, which amount to nearly 10% of the Agoura Hills-based company’s 81-person staff, came about two weeks ago. Those pink-slipped included clerical and shipping and receiving personnel.

DTS announced last January that DVD titles using its audio system would go on sale in early spring. However, the first wave of 13 mostly Universal Pictures titles is now not expected to appear until November.

The company’s professional theater sound business has also suffered from product delays.

DTS has been late in delivering its long-promised digital cinema processor, which would compete with products from rivals Dolby and Sony Cinema Products Corp. That unit will likely be unveiled at the ShowEast exhibitors convention in October.

Despite the setbacks, however, DTS’ second-quarter cinema system sales were running ahead of projections, according to sources close to the company. The company’s other ventures, including consumer hardware licensing and DTS music CDs, are also on or ahead of schedule.

Top audio equipment manufacturers including Yamaha, Kenwood, Techniques, Panasonic and Pioneer have licensed DTS technology for their A/V receivers and CD players.

Ninety-four music CDs using DTS multi-channel sound are now available in almost 600 stores.

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