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Xbox One S To Receive Ultra HD Blu-ray Next-Gen Audio Upgrades in 2017

Posted by: , 16:58 AEDT, Sun October 30, 2016

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Xbox One to get bitstream audio and Dolby Atmos support, coming to both games and Ultra HD Blu-ray playback on the Xbox One S
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Image/Photo Credit: Dolby

Microsoft's top selling Xbox One S console is to receive bitstream audio support, as well as Dolby Atmos and DTS-X, via a firmware update for its included Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

When Microsoft updated the Xbox One and released the Xbox One S, the company not only reduced the size of the console, but it also added the ability to play the latest Ultra HD Blu-ray movies, all without raising the price. This made the $299 Xbox One S one of the cheapest Ultra HD Blu-ray player on the market, and that's before you even consider the game console's "main" functionality of playing the latest games.

Microsoft's strategy of upgrading to next-gen disc playback also helped the console differentiate against it's main competitor, the much more popular Sony PS4. Sony's own upgraded PS4, the PS4 Slim, did not feature a drive update to enable UHD playback, and even Sony's more expensive PS4 Pro, scheduled to arrive in November, failed to include 4K disc playback.

Not everyone was happy about the Xbox One S's UHD capabilities. Among the chief complaint was the player's lack of support for bitstream audio support, as well as support for Dolby Atmos and DTS-X. This, these critics say, makes the Xbox One S less fully featured and less capable than other Ultra HD Blu-ray players on the market. With Ultra HD Blu-ray marketed as a premium format for home theater enthusiasts, these features become more important to the core audience of the format.

But Microsoft has listened, and at its Windows 10 event this week, the company announced that a firmware update will be released in early 2017 to bring bitstream audio support. Not only that, the company is also adding next-gen audio support in the form of the object based formats Dolby Atmos and DTS-X. These formats store and play audio based on the sound objects associated with the action on screen, rather than limiting the audio to a pre-defined number of channels.

Interestingly, Microsoft also confirmed that bitstream audio support is also coming to the original Xbox One, and that Dolby Atmos support would also be coming to games on the original and updated Xbox One consoles.

[via Forbes]


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