With all manner of new ways to watch movies and TV on the go, it seems the only thing holding back mobile entertainment is the tiny speaker affixed to many of the devices.

But it’s a booming opportunity for companies like DTS Inc., a Calabasas company that licenses audio playback technology to device makers looking to offer better sound quality.

With that in mind, DTS announced plans last week to acquire sound company SRS Labs of Santa Ana. SRS has software that enhances audio output from mobile devices.

Andy Hargreaves, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Ore., said the deal makes sense, given the healthy consumer appetite for hand-held entertainment. The SRS software should improve the technology DTS already licenses to Samsung Group of Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo’s Sony Corp., which make smartphones, tablets and other entertainment systems.

“The technologies are mostly complementary,” Hargreaves said. “This extends DTS’ capabilities and gives them an in with new customers.”

The $148 million cash-and-stock deal, pending SRS shareholder and regulatory approval, is expected to close in the third quarter. The deal gives SRS shareholders the option to receive either $9.50 per share in cash or 0.31127 shares of DTS common stock for each one of their SRS shares. The $9.50 price was a 38 percent premium over SRS’ closing price of $6.86 on April 16, the day before the deal was announced.

DTS got started by supplying digital sound systems to theaters concurrent with the release of “Jurassic Park” in 1993. The distributor behind the movie, Universal, was an early investor in the company. DTS has since sold its digital cinema business but still competes with digital sound company Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco in other media.

After getting a boost from the popularization of home theaters last decade, the company has more recently been looking to increase its stake in the growing mobile device market.

“This transaction represents an exciting extension of our strategic focus on the compelling long-term opportunities being driven by cloud-based entertainment delivery and the proliferation of connected devices,” DTS Chief Executive Jon Kirchner said in a statement.

DTS shares, which trade on the Nasdaq, closed at $29.76 on April 19, up one cent from the day before the deal was announced.

Digital Bindings

It’s well known the Los Angeles Times is trying to boost digital revenue though a newly instated pay wall.

But the paper, owned by Chicago’s Tribune Co., is also under way on another plan to get more digital dollars: e-book publishing.

The third e-book published from the newspaper company was released to Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle store and Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook store earlier this month for $7.99.

Called “Fifteen Hundred Lives Lost When Titanic Plunges Headlong Into Depths of the Sea,” the e-book is a compilation of the paper’s Titanic coverage dating back to the 1912 sinking of the historic ship all the way up to box-office reports from the “Titanic” movie.

It’s an example of how newspapers with wide audiences are looking to monetize their archives. London’s Guardian and the Boston Globe, among others, have recently published e-books based on their stories.

The first Times e-book was released in November as an expanded version of a two-part story from last year. Sold for 99 cents under the title, “A Nightmare Made Real,” it told the story of Louis Gonzalez III, a Las Vegas banker accused of kidnapping, torturing and sexually assaulting the mother of his child, who was later exonerated. That was followed the next month by “Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookies: 50 Favorite Recipes,” which sells for $4.99.

The company expects to put out between eight and 10 e-books within the first year of the venture.

Bloc Party

The National Association of Television Program Executives announced that it expects a good turnout for its first TV and digital content market in Budapest, called NATPE Budapest, that will take place in June. The L.A. non-profit also runs one of the world’s largest TV and digital content markets, NATPE Miami.

Since 1991, the Budapest market had been operated by L.A. event production company Basic Lead, under the name Discop East, as a gateway to sell TV rights to broadcasters in ex-Soviet bloc countries. NATPE purchased the event last year, looking to raise its international profile.

The non-profit said about 250 buyers have preregistered for the market. Although that number may look low compared with the 662 registered buyers for last year’s event, buyers were required to put down a $150 deposit this year that wasn’t required by the previous operator. NATPE think that will help ensure that registered buyers attend. Sellers at the market will include representatives from Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and other studios.

“We are looking forward to showcasing our proven successful market formula to a host of new attendees and organisations as part of our increased global focus,” said NATPE Chief Executive Rick Feldman in a statement.

Staff reporter Jonathan Polakoff can be reached at jpolakoff@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 226.

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