Microsoft has announced that Dolby Atmos will be available on Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 the beginning of 2017.


Dolby Atmos is an object based sound format that’s capable of producing sounds above your listening area. It requires the use of ceiling speakers or specially designed speaker modules that reflect sound off the ceiling. The effect gives an added dimension to sound tracks creating a more enveloping sound stage.


While Atmos is widely known and used by home theater enthusiasts, gamers may finally be able to enjoy the benefits of the immersive format. When Atmos arrives on the Xbox One and One S, they will be the first gaming consoles to use the new format in games.


“With Dolby Atmos, sound moves precisely all around and above you,” Spencer Hooks, Dolby Laboratories director of gaming, wrote in a post on Xbox Wire. ” “You can hear where your allies and enemies are in three-dimensional space. Snipers on the roof? You’ll hear them over your left shoulder and know where to aim to take them out. The same goes for an attacker with a jetpack hovering behind you.”


Along with Atmos support, the Xbox One and One S will also feature Dolby Bitstream pass through which sends the untouched audio signal over to an AV Receiver or TV for decoding for the highest possible sound quality. The PS4 has had this capability for quite some time so it’s a little surprising that it’s taken Microsoft so long to implement this feature. Before it rolls out next year to the public, Xbox preview members can sample the new Bitstream feature now.


The inclusion of Atmos and Bitstream pass through is a strong indication that Microsoft wants their latest consoles to be more than just gaming machines. The Xbox One S already supports 4K video with HDR and with its new Atmos and Bitstreaming features the console is positioned to become a legitimate home theater component.


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