During the introduction of the Windows 10 Creators Update in October, Microsoft announced that Dolby Atmos sound would be coming to the Xbox One S. Turns out that's just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft recently revealed that Dolby Atmos support is also coming to the original Xbox One and Windows 10 for PCs and tablets. There’s no specific release date yet, but it’s a good bet the feature will arrive with the Creators Update next spring.
Microsoft also said Blu-ray Bitstream pass-through—another feature already tipped for the Xbox One S—would arrive on the original Xbox One as well. Bitstream pass-through allows Blu-ray audio to flow through the Xbox to your high-end audio equipment instead of being stifled by the Xbox’s lower-quality audio capabilities. Bitstream pass-through will include Atmos support.
Why this matters: Dolby Atmos is the latest advanced technology for improving audio on PCs and in home theaters. It’s about bringing the 3D experience to sound. Instead of surround sound on various channels, Atmos uses a model of 3D space to make it seem like sounds are coming from above, behind, or all around you. Imagine watching an Alien movie where you hear the drip, drip, drip of the monster’s acid coming from above before the creature appears on camera. That’s the promise of Atmos sound.
Check out our explainer on the details of Dolby Atmos for more explicit details.
While Dolby Atmos will be great for home theaters, Microsoft’s initial focus appears to be on games for PCs and the Xbox One consoles. It’s not clear exactly which games will support Atmos, though it’s already available on PC with Overwatch and Star Wars: Battlefront. Microsoft says users will be able to experience the difference in sound with Dolby Atmos using almost any pair of headphones.
Xbox users may not have to wait until the Creators Update to get a taste of Dolby Atmos. An Xbox Blu-ray app is already being tested with Xbox Preview members, and Microsoft plans to roll out the new app to all users soon.