Gaming and home theater fans will be happy to know that Microsoft this week added new bitstream audio features to Xbox One, including bitstream passthrough of advanced immersive audio formats Dolby Atmos and DTS:X from supporting Blu-ray Disc movies.

This update, which is scheduled to begin next week, will allow a connected supporting AV receiver to accept and natively decode the DTS:X audio bitstream data, adding more immersive surround sound, including height channels, to the surround sound experience.

In addition, bitstream passthrough for Blu-ray disc audio will let the Xbox One playback all bitstream audio formats through supported receivers, Microsoft said. In order to decode the signal the connected AV receiver will need to have built-in decoding support for the desired bitstream signal.

Read more about the Xbox One bitstream update after the jump:

Microsoft is currently selling the original Xbox One gaming console in a variety of bundles with prices [amazon_textlink asin=’B019TYEXC8′ text=’starting at around $230′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’hc005-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4e8d3a0b-154e-11e7-aaba-cb641365efb8′]. For 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray enthusiasts, Microsoft also offers a step-up console, the [amazon_textlink asin=’B01L1Y0TCC’ text=’Xbox One S’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’hc005-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’774459e6-154e-11e7-a637-cff1deabe127′], which includes Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc playback with support for the HDR10 high dynamic range format.

Microsoft announced last October that the [amazon_textlink asin=’B01NAUSD9I’ text=’Xbox One S’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’hc005-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’894bd4c7-154e-11e7-b44e-21c707fc3a0e’] was adding bitstream audio enhancement, before announcing the capability was also being extended to the earlier Xbox One version. The Xbox One S also supports bitstream audio for select games developed for the advanced platform. The Xbox One S is currently available in several on-board storage options [amazon_textlink asin=’B01IFE1XV2′ text='(up to 2TB)’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’hc005-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d9365b21-154e-11e7-b52d-ed6b179b18de’] including a [amazon_textlink asin=’B01L1Y0TCC’ text=’500GB version at $257′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’hc005-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b514c957-154e-11e7-9094-491cb77ce9d2′].

Outside of bitstream support, the new Xbox One update also includes Beam streaming, an updated Xbox experience with a new guide, home improvements, and more gaming options. More on this later.

In this announcement, Microsoft singled out support for DTS:X, which wasn’t included in the Xbox One S bitream audio announcement last fall, when Dolby Atmos was highlighted. DTS:X is said to natively replicate and convey “the fluid movement of sound to create a richer experience than previously possible by moving sound to precisely where the mixer placed it,” Microsoft said in a announcement of the feature upgrade.

DTS:X also adapts to the speaker layout to best fit the individual viewing space by seamlessly delivering sound to specific locations within the viewing environment – in front of, behind, above and beside the audience.

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Meanwhile, Microsoft said the firmware update will also include support for “Beam Streaming,” which brings new experiences to the platform plus a new Guide and home improvements. Beam is said to make streaming Xbox games easier. The newly updated Guide will improve navigation of all of the system’s most popular features. The new layout includes smaller icons for the game with options to dive deeper into the community surrounding the game, as well as the ability to interact with a Club or find “Looking for Group” posts. Users can easily view their Achievements and find other experiences.


By Greg Tarr


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