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Blu-ray bitstream pass-through goes live for all Xbox One consoles

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

The March update may have already arrived for all Xbox One users, but Microsoft continues to flip the switch on new features. The latest such switch is for Blu-ray bitstream pass-through, which is now live for all Xbox One consoles after a fair bit of testing by Xbox Insiders.

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In short, bitstream pass-through allows for audio to be processed by a device other than your console. That opens up the ability to use Dolby's Atmos audio provided you have the proper setup. It's a feature that likely only applies to a limited subset of users, but it's a big deal for the audiophiles out there.

To get started with bitstream pass-through, you'll want to reboot your console and then head to the Blu-ray settings page. From there, you can enable the feature by checking the box next to "Let my receiver decode audio."

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

19 Comments
  • I'm not much of an audiophile, but would this have any benefit to use with my Astro a50's?
  • If they do not have Atmos on the box, most likely not. The way Atmos works is it adds additional channels to your audio setup that fires the audio towards the ceiling. It then bounces off the ceiling at the listener, making it sound like there is audio coming from above. While those headphones have 7.1 equivalence, it will not have audio from above. They may be able to emulate it since you have 7.1, but it is not Atmos. I would also doubt that they have a processor in those headphones. Atmos requires processing power to decode the audio. Atmos has a vector assigned to the audio source so that they can pinpoint where the audio is in 3D space. The headphones would need to be able to process those vectors.
  • Thanks for the response! Makes sense, just wasn't sure if there was any benefit or not, but I can always test it out.
  • Your A50s have a base that accepts Optical audio connections.  The Xbox one already allows bitstream audio of Dolby Digital and DTS over optical.  This new feature allows bitstream audio over the HDMI connects, which would provide Lossless audio such as Dolby True HD or DTS-MA from Blu-ray and 4K discs.
  • Though used by few users, that 4k playback of UHD discs is a differentiating feature. If you can't have the audio you want paired with stellar video playback, then it is crippled. Glad they brought this over. I know couple people who have been waiting for this so they can take advantage of their home theater systems.
  • waiting for atmos
  • You don't need to wait, it is there now.
  • Damn, that XB1 S is sexy. No wonder I purchased one. lol.
  • I thought the Xbox already had bitstream passthrough, I could have sworn I'd seen the option in the menu ages ago.
  • It does, but it only supported Dolby Digital or DTS, but not both at the same time. Also, the way it worked meant that it wasn't really true passthrough. Before today the way the X1 handled audio was one of two ways. If you had PCM selected then the X1 would handle audio decode and pass uncompressed LPCM to the audio device and was the best way to get audio from the machine. Dolby or DTS were actually the worst because the X1 would still handle decode, but would then re-encode into either Dolby or DTS. Now, this sounds really stupid, but they had a reason for it. The way audio works, you either get audio from the system or audio via bitstream, but not both. So, by handling all of the processing internally, they could insert system sounds (think the bleep when you get a notification popup), and then it would be packaged into the LPCM, Dolby, or DTS audio stream. Now that they have enabled proper bitstream for Blu-Ray, system sounds shouldn't work anymore while watching a bitstreamed blu-ray, but with proper bistreaming comes support for lossless audio formats (DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD) and Atmos whereas with the system handling decode that wasn't possible. So, for those of us that care about having the highest quality audio possible this is a huge deal.
  • Awesome, thanks for the info. I'm pretty sure my amp has the HD decoders (not Atmos though) would it be better to allow bitstreaming now to get the best audio? I like good audio.
  • Hurrah, Dolby Atmos now up and running on my home cinema set up! Just watched the first 15 minutes of Deadpool on UHD and the sound is incredible with Atmos now working from the Xbox One S 😁
  • Tested it on my original XBOX ONE. The ones with Dolby True HD worked fine but those with DTS-HD do not work. The Blu-ray player app will tell me that my receiver does not support the audio format and asks me to uncheck let my receiver decode audio. But my receiver definitely supports DTS-HD and can even decode ATMOS and DTS:X although it can only play the TrueHD and DTS-HD part.
  • Why only BD, what about games and other movie files.
  • Are there any games that have Dolby TruHD or DTS-MA soundtracks?  I don't know of any.  The highest audio streams available from video streaming services like VUDU is Dolby Digital Plus, which was already available over HDMI and the optical connection.  I have yet to find a way to play Mp4 or MKV rips of Blu-ray regard less of their audio streams, but you can now play BD-R discs which, if theyare encoded with Lossless audio tracks, can be outputted via bitstream through HDMI now.
  • What I wanted to know was whether bitstream support /non support before this update was specific to BD.
    Irrespective of whether it was Dolby digital or dolby TruHD.
    They are all surround.
  • The funny thing is that my PS3 plays Blu ray rips just fine.
  • Can't the forum moderators do something about the endless spam posts that now pollute it?
  • Any benefit to enabling this even without Atmos? Would my ysp-2700 do a better job with the audio from Blu ray regardless? Also, since this update I've noticed the bluray app is now dimming during movies from system inactivity. Rebooted last night and will see if it returns. Didn't do that for TV.