Dolby Atmos support coming to Xbox One with Creators Update

Dolby Atmos Logo
Dolby Atmos Logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

Audio hounds will be glad to know that support for Dolby Atmos surround sound is headed to the Xbox One. With bitstream audio passthrough, users will be able to hear all of the sound from whatever they're watching or playing in what is essentially super surround sound via Dolby Atmos is they have an Atmos capable setup.

For those unfamiliar, Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology announced and released by Dolby in 2012. Atmos is a step above traditional surround sound, immersing you in the action so that "sound moves around you in three-dimensional space, so you feel like you're inside the action," according to Dolby.

Support for Dolby Atmos will arrive alongside the Windows 10 Creators Update when it lands for Xbox One. Lastly, according to Xbox's Mike Ybarra, Dolby Atmos and bitstreaming will work with any game or movie that supports it on all Xbox One consoles — not just Xbox One S.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • and DTS-X?
  • If it has true bitstreaming, then DTS-X should also work. That means Xbox will passthrough sound source to your AVR, and your avr will decode the sound. As it is right now, Xbox does the decoding of the source.
  • I am so out of the loop on audio stuff that I don't even know what dolby atmos is.
  • Atmos is vectorized audio. In a normal surround system, there are speakers on the sides and back to create 2D audio, but with Atmos it moves the audio into 3D so that speakers in the ceiling or on top of other speakers will bounce audio off the ceiling to make it sound like audio is coming from above. In the Atmos version of Independence Day, when planes fly over head it sounds like the planes are truly overhead. Laser and bullet fire sounds like they are moving through the air above. In the last Transformers parts bouncing around sound like they move over your head. It really is cool, but most people don't have the setup which s why it was funny watching the outrage over it not being supported on the XB1s when most people couldn't use it.
  • Wow, thanks for the explanation! Sounds really cool, but way more of a pain to set up vs a regular surround system that can sound like crap if not see up right. Also sounds super expensive.
  • Actually, it is easy and if you have a receiver to support it and an existing 5.1 setup, it is not too expensive. For a few $100, you buy two speakers that you setup in the front then let the receiver calibrate. They will shoot audio at an angle towards the ceiling which then bounces down from above. The biggest problem is getting a receiver that supports it. There are also sound bars that support it, but I am not sure how well they work.
  • So you don't have to worry about setting up a 'sweet spot' due to the speakers canceling themselves out?
  • Not really. The speakers will hand off the audio from one to the other so it will sound as if it is moving through space. It doesn't turn all the speakers on at a time which could cause the audio waves to intermix, each speaker is given a discreet channel so they are their own separate audio source.
  • Nice. Thanks for the explanation.
  • And I hope you have a flat ceiling to bounce those sound waves! 
  • I know on my Denon, it will give you Audyssey setup....setup a Mic and it does all the configuration for your room for your speakers...
  • We'll, time for the PlayStation people to invent a new reason to generate controversy over the XB1.
  • Did anyone else see that waveform in what appeared to be a new Groove Music app?... Could they be adding audio control, and editing, right into the app? I've been saying they should for years.
  • So....i've asked several times before, but this makes it a bit more relevant...   What soundbar for 4K blu ray?  Obviously need one with 4k audio capability/passthru   BOSE soundtouch 300?  Sony HTCT790?
  • I believe Yamaha do a soundbar with Dolby Atmos capabilities, its pricey but worth a look.
  • Yep, but I have a hard time believing it can actually pull off anything close to seperate speakers.    
  • A soundbar is for sound and 4K blu-ray is for video. Your question doesn't make much sense. In order to take advantage of 4K blu-ray you'll need a new TV that supports that resolution. If you want to take advantage of the latest audio in the latest blu-ray format then a soundbar won't really do the trick. You'll need to begin shopping for at least a 5.1 audio solution. There are also 6.1, 7.1, 9.1 audio systems and greater. Dolby Atmos uses a minimum of 5.1.2 audio. The "5" is your typical 5 speaker setup. The ".1" is a low frequency channel or subwoofer. The ".2" is for height channels. A lot more information can be found here atr Dolby's website:
  • Dear Microsoft. Dolby Atmos has a Headphone version. I assume it is the upgrade from Dolby Headphone which is awesome. Please pass that through the controllers when you ship this update. Then everyone can experience awesome surround sound with any stereo headphones. It is miles ahead of the standard stereo output you currently push to the controllers.
  • I'll bet the wireless transmission doesn't support the bandwidth needed for an Atmos soundtrack.
  • It's a stereo signal by the time it is transmitted. All the Dolby Headphone magic happens in the software before the transmission by modulating the frequency to simulate the way the sound reaches your two (stereo) ears in a full surround sound setup. They should not need extra bandwidth. Even if they did, they went with a new protocol for the XB1 to give them more bandwidth. Unfortunately, this new protocol is obviously more prone to interference which is why many of us get the random controller disconnects
  • Makes sense. So potentially one could get a phony Atmos sound with the headphones. I've heard some phony surround sound on some headphones and they seemed decent. Nothing compared to a good true surround setup but passable if that's not possible.
  • I have both. A marantz receiver with Definitive Tech speakers and an Astro Dolby Headphone decoder with a pair of Sony mdrma900 headphones. Unless I want room shaking base from the sub woofer, I choose my Dolby Headphone setup every time. Dialogue and positional sound is way better with my headphones than with 'real' surround sound.
  • Dolby Atmos on the Xbox One S is the best news! I've had an Atmos set up since it launched and now, once the update hits, I can ditch my other Blu-ray player and solely use the S. And yes, the S is an excellent 4K UHD Blu-ray player!
  • What is your atmos setup?  
  • Onkyo amp with 5.1.2 speaker set up. Kef speakers for the 5.1 and Onkyo up firing speakers for the .2. its crammed into a very small lounge but sounds amazing, even when Dolby Surround is creating an upscaled Atmos effect.
  • Don't fall for soundbars as a means to get Atmos. You won't. Atmos is hard enough to get right even with "Atmos-Enabled" speakers or Atmos module that shoots that sound to the ceiling. It just false marketing to even pretend a soundbar that can hardly emulate surround would actually make atmos work. If it gets you the "feeling" that you have atmos just becuase it says so on a sticker, fine, it is your choice and your money. Soundbars are just an upgrade for your TV speakers. It can't really replace a full 5.1 speaker set up. Get a good quality soundbar if that is the only thing you can fit in your space, but don't get tricked into thinking you actually get true surround and even worse, atmos. That is just marketing. Head to AVS forums dot com, you will find a lot of people willing to help suggesting a good soundbar.
  • I have specific reasons for looking into a sound bar.  Space, kids, etc.... Is this update specific to atmos or will it allow for other formats  to audio passthrough as well?  Some sound bars have the option to add a sub and/or wireless rears. (Bose soundtouch 300, sony HTCT790 for example...)   Not expecting the true atmos experience from a soundbar at all.
  • I don't even have a 4K TV but I'm quite tempted to buy an Xbox One S just to have a second one for my home office....I'm only hesitant because I'll be pre-ordering Scorpio so in a little over a year I'll have two Xboxes anyway.
  • So my recever does not support Atmos. What happens when I bitstream Atmos to a non supported receiver.
    ​Hope they completly add the option to just select bitstream. So everything get bitstreamed the right way to the receiver.
  • It depends on the source and your receiver but you'll probably get whatever your receiver is capable of. A 5.1 or 7.1 soundtrack most likely. You can search for the white paper that Dolby authored to get a better in-depth understanding of how the Atmos implementation works. I'd link it but this website won't let me. Just search for "dolby atmos for the home theater white paper" and you should get a link to a pdf from Dolby. 
  • It just dropps the channels. When it streams the audio to your receiver, it sends the 5.1 channels, and then more for Atmos (I think that Atmos supports up to 64 additional channels). I have 4 atmos speakers, so those additional channels are not used, sent, etc.
  • I have an AVR that supports 4k and Dolby Atmos (TV is also 4k), but no way to play any Dolby Atmos content. I was already considering picking up an Xbox One S just for the UHD capability and ditching the Sony upscaling blu-ray player and Roku. I was also considering a standalone UHD player because of Dolby Atmos, but now this has swayed me. My AVR is currently setup in a 7.1 configuration. So my question is, is Dolby Atmos even worth it to go to a 5.1.2 setup? I have honestly never been anywhere that had a Dolby Atmos setup to hear it for myself.
  • There is only one thing I can say here.... IT'S ABOUT <insert bad word that starts with an F> TIME !!! People have been complaining about this from the Xbox one release. And here we are years later and Microsoft actually does something about it.... So much for listening to their customers..
  • I hope this is all bitstream audio out... for every app on the console, especially plex. Audio is handled so much better by the app directly, so I hope this is true! I've been waiting for this for 3 years!