Mad Catz show HDMI-powered gaming headset at CES

Hardware News Xbox One

Tritton Katana 7.1 HDMI Headset

Mad Catz have been showing off their new Tritton Katana 7.1 HD headset at CES this week—and has picked up a CES 2016 Innovations Award for the product’s unique approach to game audio.

Nearly all gaming headsets today utilise digital optical audio to carry their surround sound streams. These have always been limited to six channels of compressed audio, however, and only replicate a “simulated” 7.1 experience. Getting true, uncompressed audio often requires some pretty high-end equipment in your console gaming setup.

Tritton Katana 7.1 Headset

Tritton’s new Katana HD 7.1 appears to solve this problem entirely, taking an uncompressed 7.1 audio stream straight from the console’s HDMI port, right into your ears, through a smart little codec from DTS that encodes audio into a spatial binaural stereo stream, giving you that familiar sense of surround sound. It’s compatible with HDMI-ARC too, so you only need one transmitter for all your audio sources. No more cable switching!

Unfortunately for Xbox One users, however, it’s not completely wireless. You’ll still need a chat cable heading to your controller, unlike the Astro MixAmp Pro TR’s integrated USB solution. Still, lossless HDMI audio is something of a first for standalone gaming headsets and is definitely a welcome step forward.

The Tritton Katana 7.1 HD is priced at £179.99 and ships in March.