Blu-ray bitstream pass-through is now available to Xbox Insider Program members

Xbox One S
Xbox One S (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

A build launched for Xbox Insiders this past weekend enabling "miscellaneous fixes." Those updates were to activate bitstream pass-through for the Blu-ray app.

Bitstream pass-through allows audio to be processed by a device external to your Xbox One, enabling features such as Dolby Atmos.

Insider Program members won't need a new build to enable these features. A hard reset should be enough to turn them on. There are still a couple of issues with this new feature, as detailed in the post below from the Insider forum (opens in new tab).

Hey Preview Members!

People are always wondering why we say miscellaneous fixes in our builds, well we are able to enable features (hidden and then turn them on with a Live service setting). Therefore you DO not need to download a new build as we had the bits in the build you took over the weekend (1610.161208-1218) - you may just need to REBOOT to see the new setting in Settings.

Well all Preview members can now enjoy a cool new feature on your Xbox One consoles and Xbox One S consoles (yes it works on both!) - We have now turned on a new Blu-ray app feature, Bitstream Pass-through which allows you to experience the best possible audio quality from your movies including Dolby Atmos.

We have now turned on a new Blu-ray app feature, Bitstream Pass-through which allows you to experience the best possible audio quality from your movies including Dolby Atmos. It is currently a beta feature for our Preview users so we're looking for your feedback to improve it before final release!

This is how you can turn it on:

  1. Make sure your console is plugged in via HDMI to an audio receiver which supports decoding of Blu-ray audio formats. Optical audio does not support pass-through.
  2. Enable "Let my receiver decode audio (beta)" under the "Disc & Blu-ray" settings page.a. If you do not see the button immediately try rebooting your console. It can take up to 24 hours for our changes to make it to your console without a reboot.
  3. Make sure you have the latest Blu-ray player by checking the "Updates" tab under "My Games & Apps"
  4. Insert your favorite DVD or Blu-ray disc
  5. Kick back and enjoy the highest quality audio from your movies and TV shows

We've created a quest called "Try Pass-through! - Unleash your inner audiophile with Blu-ray Bitstream Pass-through!" to collect your feedback on the feature.

Since this is a beta feature we do have a couple known issues that we're still working on:

  1. Sometimes videos may play with no sound.a. Workaround:i. Try preforming a rewind or skip back a chapter to re-lock the HDMI connection between your console and your audio device.ii. If you're still experiencing no audio during playback, try opening the Blu-ray movie controls and cycle through the available audio tracks using the speaker icon.iii. If none of these steps work, please file a bug using the Xbox Insider Hub under the Blu-ray app or by completing the quest.
  2. A pop may be heard when transitioning between chapters or when performing a pause/rewind/fast-forward command.

Thank you for being a Preview member!

The Xbox Insider Program marches forward, and we'll always be here with the latest updates.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Can't come quick enough, I'm kind of not playing it for this very reason. It seems like a good game, but the crap visuals are really hurting it for me
  • wtf are you talking about? Are you playing the bitstream game? lol
  • Ah ****, lol - my bad. That comment was meant for the FF XV article about the blurriness patch. Not sure how that happened... I swear I was reading the right article, on my Elite X3 :/ On topic though, I'm glad they are enabling this feature! Unfortunately I can't test since my pioneer SC-81 doesn't support Atmos :/
  • But, if it supports DTS-HD/MA or Dolby TrueHD, this should allow bitstreaming to your receiver that does support it. I hope they enable this for apps like Plex, where I have MKV's with HD audio formats that I want my receiver to decode, not Plex or the Xbox.
  • Yeah that's true, but I'm more disappointed I don't have Atmos support haha.
  • Tempted to enroll in the insiders program to test out the ATMOS support. The Samsung UHD player has been really annoying with random freezes and restarts, not being able to play some disks, and just plain being a PITA.
  • Funkie not sure if my surround sound even supports this
  • It depends on what part you want to support. If you have a relatively recent receiver, developed since Blu-ray first came out, then it supports bitstreaming. If you mean the newer codecs and Atmos, if you don't know than it doesn't. You need special speakers to enable it, a receiver that supports at least 7.1, and was developed within the past year. Atmos requires new processors that can handle the vectorized audio. That is why the complaints of XB1s not supporting Atmos from the start was such a joke. Very few people have the equipment to handle it, but even though they could not play Atmos the XB1s not supporting it means it was a failure. Of course, not even the PS4P handles it, but that is ok because it has the Sony name on it.
  • According to Cameron Grey, 7.1 was not supported.
    If true it is a big 'failure' as it is a requirement of the specification out of the box.
    You cannot sell a BD Player without 7.1 support.
    Receivers can be 2.0, 5.1 or 7.1 etc but the input source is not negotiable.
  • I have a 5.1 blue ray got the lg thing in 2012 I think.
  • Can you provide a model name
  • LG  hb906ta
  • I see.
    That's a home theatre, not an input source.
  • i looked it up my system doesn't support that newer bitstream thing. so im not worried. i will just keep useing the dolby setting i have set now.
  • As far as I know, but I'm not really a gamer so I don't know the full specs, the PS4 Pro supports bitstream of Dolby True HD and DTS HD. Atmos and DTS:X uses those formats, so any player that supports bitstream of those formats, also supports Atmos and DTS:X.
    So I think you are incorrect with your statement that the PS4P can't handle it. But it's also a relevant complain that Xbox One S did not support it, as it has Ultra HD Blu-ray player, and a lot of people that would get the Xbox One S, when it was more expensive than the old One, would do so for the Ultra HD Blu-Ray support (4K games are just upscaled, and any 4K TV/Monitor can do that as well).
    An ultra HD player that doesn't offer full support for the surround formats used, is really not a good purchase.
    Now that the prices has dropped below what you can find the old One for, it would still be the choice for anyone looking for an Xbox one system. But at release, it was an Xbox One, with a pretty bad Ultra HD blu-ray to add cost.
    But now, it's also getting support for all the surround formats, by bitstream, and will actually be a good Ultra HD BluRay player (not a great one, though). And it will probably take a little more time, before any other Ultra HD Bluray player will be cheaper (on temporary sales, on Ulra HD BluRay players, you will probably be likely to find the One S cheaper still, at lest for some months to come). It should be pointed out also, that even some Full HD BluRays do have DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, and for those discs, the Xbox One S was already a bad player, for anyone with a compatible system. But as BluRay players are pretty cheap today (and pretty much all of them support bitstream), it's not such a big deal, however getting a Ultra HD bluray player to complement the Xbox One /S, would set you back more than the cost of two Xbox One /S units.
  • Plex, your turn!!
  • The whole app for XBO needs to be updated to the universal one. So tired no folders.
  • About time! My current setup doesn't support Atmos, but when I popped in The Force Awakens blu ray the receiver was able to properly decode the 7.1 DTS-HDMA, rather than settling for the XBOX One's 7.1 uncompressed mode.
  • Is there really a noticeable difference between bitstreamed audio and uncompressed PCM?
  • Generally speaking, not really, no. There are some who claim their AVR can decode better than the player, or vice versa. That hasn't been the case in my experience and from what I've read. I think if you really wanted to tell if there was an audiological difference, you'd need a lot of sophisticated measuring equipment. However, if you're paying high dollar for a nice AVR, that's what a lot of people would rather have doing the decoding. A lot of it is just personal preference.
  • Awesome !!
  • So does HDMI give better audio quality than optical?
  • Yes. Optical can do 2 channel uncompressed, or 5.1/7.1 DTS or DD+ compressed. HDMI will allow the same, but optical does not have the bandwidth for Dolby True HD or DTS Master Audio, which means that Atmos is not supported over optical. HDMI 2.0 allows the higher bandwidth codecs and Atmos.
  • Thanks
  • Yes but Atmos is not unique to HDMI 2.0.
    It just happened to be introduced about the same time.
    HDMI 2.0 or UHD BD did not bring any audio changes to the original BD specification.
  • They should still have allowed pass through over optical though so my external decoder can decode the 5.1 DD/DTS instead of the crappy overblown Db they push out from the software output that the xbox one puts out.  They are arrogant gits not allowing it over optical to fix their horrendous attempt at decoding.
  • I wouldn't call it horrendous, in fact, I don't think there's been a detected difference at all.  If you're concerned about audio quality, you shouldn't hold 5.1DD and DTS as the standard to uphold, those are lossy formats.
  • I hope to see a miscellaneous fix that enable the Bluetooth and wifi AC features of the Xbox One because the chip its capable of doing it
  • I'm curious to know how this worked before this feature was enabled.
    Was BD only rendered in stereo in Xbox before today?
  • The Xbox decoded the audio into Dolby or DTS before passing the info to your amp or TV but only to 5.1. This means that any extra data for Atmos or even 7.1 audio was squashed into 5.1 channels.
  • Ok thanks.
    That's insane... For three years of Xbox one, that's unacceptable and no customer should've have stood for this.
  • People never really liked it, it was a complaint from early on.  But, only a small percentage of users even had a 7.1 set up to start, to most it wasn't that big a deal.  My buddy at work here with an Xbox One S uses his TV speakers of all things.
  • Untrue. You can have 7.1 on Xbox One if you set it up to PCM. This way, the Xbox is decoding the HD surround sound. The only limitation is that you cannot go higher than 7.1, like DTS-NeoX and Dolby Atmos offer.
  • Atmos can be 7.1 with 5.1 plus two ceiling/atmos-reflection-spekaers. DTS:X can be used as 7.1 in various of speker set-ups, that is not the standard 7.1 configuration.
    So it's not only about the actual number of channels. Also DTS-NeoX is not a real thing. Some films came with a sticker saying that, but when DTS:X was released they named their upcoding Neural X and not Neo X. DTS upcoding used to be called DTS NEO. The films with DTS NeoX are simply DTS HD films that any DTS HD compatible system with more speakers can upcode to have more channels (even if that system is Dolby Surround, Audyssey DSX, or Yamahas 9 channel format), but there is no actual object coding on the films, so they don't show up as DTS:X films on a compatible receiver.
  • Iv seen a new vudu app coming and expect that to support atmos and hdr 4k. I'm actually epexting a Dolby vision announcement around that. With oppo having a DV bluray player on the market now it wouldn't surprise me to see Xbox have that by e3
  • I think Dolby Vision would require special HW to support that feature. I think the other issue is that HDMI 2.0 can't support full 12 bit 4:4:4 chroma throughput. Long story short, the will not be able to support DV :'(
  • I can't wait for bitstream pass through to go live for everyone! The Xbox One S is already awesome but this will make it perfect 😀
  • Now if they could enable this for the Media Player app that would be peachy.
  • Would be a bigger deal if Plex could bitstream.
  • Oooh I wanted this for plex :'(
  • Please someone send me a invite to the insider program! Gamer tag is Slade10401. Thank you! been waiting to get this update since I got a one S
  • Corey Carroz I think you can just download the Xbox Insider app now. No need to be invited anymore
  • I miss my Surround sound. Wish it was time to invest in a nice audio setup. maybe time to start looking again though. Streaming 4K content with HDR got me excited again.
  • Thank you for the work around just spent over £3500 on set up HDR 4K and so on got it all going no sound in true hd or dts hd I was gutted till I came cross ur work round I'm now I'm already for Scorpio thank you that would of bugged me all night lol