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Xbox One support for Dolby Digital headsets coming post-launch

microsoft xbox one review system

If you’ve got a Dolby Digital gaming headset that you want to plug into your Xbox One’s optical audio port, then you might be interested to know that it probably doesn’t work. Yet.

Kotaku’s Kirk Hamilton discovered in his console review that the optical port on the back of the unit doesn’t output Dolby 5.1 or 7.1 digital audio. This turned into a point of discussion in the NeoGAF community, and Microsoft has now responded with a post from Director of Product Planning Albert Penello, who explains what the issue is and promises that support will be added post-launch.

The full text of Penello’s GAF post follows:

Dolby Digital is coming post launch. This was a SW scheduling issue pure and simple, and I know people are disappointed, but we will have it. 

Anyone with an HDMI receiver should be fine, as we pass the uncompressed 5.1 and 7.1 through HDMI as well as DTS. Even if you have a Dolby only HDMI receiver (which I’m not sure exists), you will still get 5.1 or 7.1 sound since those receivers should accept uncompressed surround. 

For the Dolby only headsets, my understanding is that these will work but you will only get stereo audio since we only pass Stereo and DTS through the optical port. I have not tested this myself, but I’m told it works. Regardless, I understand this is an inconvenience, but again we’re going to have Dolby coming.

This is unrelated to the HDMI-IN “Surround Sound” beta. To clarify, we default HDMI-IN audio to be converted to Stereo. However, we do have a feature you can access in TV settings/Troubleshooting that enables Surround Sound in “beta” form. If you check the box, and you get Surround, you’re golden. We found some inconsistencies in STB’s during testing and decided to disable it by default to insure a good initial setup experience for people.

Let us know how your Xbox One setup experience goes when you pick your console up. For those that have clearly been living under a rock (seriously… get outside!): the Xbox One launches tonight at midnight. Check out our review right here.

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