Windows 8 excludes Dolby technologies

Microsoft’s Windows operating system has, over the years, got a good deal better at natively supporting media playback. It’s not perfect by any means – native Blu-Ray support remains a notable exclusion, and many codecs still won’t play without third-party software – but on the whole, media support on Windows has improved.

So news from Dolby Laboratories – disclosed in a post-earnings conference call with investors, and revealed by Forbes – that the company’s technologies have not been included in Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system may well raise a few eyebrows.

The proliferation of optical drives in new computers in recent years has so far guaranteed the widespread inclusion of Dolby technologies in PC shipments. Native support for Dolby Digital Plus is currently baked into Windows 7, delivering up to 5.1 channels of high-definition surround sound on playback of HD and DVD content.

Dolby has increasingly relied on the considerable revenues generated by the licensing of its technologies in PCs, and by its own admission, the weighting of those revenues has shifted more towards licensing at the OS level. If Microsoft chooses not to maintain this arrangement in Windows 8, Dolby will be forced to ensure continued support for its technologies on PCs by establishing new licensing agreements with PC and equipment manufacturers, and other third-parties, including developers and distributors of playback software.  

The market did not react well to Dolby’s disclosure, with the company's shares falling almost 18% in Friday trading (we should note that the markets as a whole fell considerably and a generous portion of the decline is likely related to the weak market trends). Analysts at Chicago-based investment firm William Blair & Company, and London financial advisory group Collins Stewart, both downgraded Dolby stock ratings in reaction to the news.

The absence of Dolby technologies in current Windows 8 builds does not inherently imply that the OS will not support DVD playback or digital surround sound. It is possible that Microsoft will choose to license these technologies from another provider, or a deal may yet be reached that would see Dolby’s technologies natively supported as they are in Windows 7.

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KavazovAngel said,
We need more DTS-HD MA love.

Why? It's an inferior product.
Less efficient, less playback options, more CPU intensive. Since lossless is lossless, having better efficiency,more features and options is key.
Dolby's critical mistake on Blu-ray was not being included in the PC based authoring packages: all Blu-ray movies are created using PC software. Dolby's encoding relied on Macs, making the audio encode require another setup (and a lot more expensive).

But it might be included in the final build. Interim builds are not always complete and royalty-incurring codecs are less likely to be included in a test build.

I don't need Dolby technologies in Windows at all. Why should i pay licence fee for that? Do you wanna Dolby support? Buy yourself a PowerDVD or similar.

6205 said,
I don't need Dolby technologies in Windows at all. Why should i pay licence fee for that? Do you wanna Dolby support? Buy yourself a PowerDVD or similar.

Yeah thanks! Since Vista there is no need to get another crappy player…

Anyone serious enough about wanting surround or trueHD from dolby probably arealy have software or hardware supporting those codecs.

I'd like to see mkv and flac included tho. Heck, they're free and becoming mainstream.

Mouettus said,
Anyone serious enough about wanting surround or trueHD from dolby probably arealy have software or hardware supporting those codecs.

I'd like to see mkv and flac included tho. Heck, they're free and becoming mainstream.


What this man said. If you like quality audio, chances are you have a sound card that supports hardware accelerated dolby. Also, I have seen so many issues with the dolby processor on windows media player and some sound cards mostly due to bad drivers

Mouettus said,
I'd like to see mkv and flac included tho. Heck, they're free and becoming mainstream.

flac is mainstream? oh I'm so old then...

nothing to worry about. Even it is included, not much people use. See the Windows Media Player. Nowsaday, people use VLC or PowerDVD to watch movie, etc. Even your sound card has dolby at hardware and software level to render the sound. I would say nice move save money.

satus said,
nothing to worry about. Even it is included, not much people use. See the Windows Media Player. Nowsaday, people use VLC or PowerDVD to watch movie, etc. Even your sound card has dolby at hardware and software level to render the sound. I would say nice move save money.

Ok, although you may be on the right 'track' the information you are offering here is not accurate. Most audio hardware doesn't have inherent support or licensing. Also most users do not use third party software. The true concept here is that Windows treats 'codecs' and this level of technology as part of the OS. By supplementing PowerDVD as a solution, this changes the direction of Windows and once again makes it an Application layer issue, which is not good. (Even though other OSes like Linux keep these at the application layer, does not mean it is the right choice.)

thenetavenger said,

Ok, although you may be on the right 'track' the information you are offering here is not accurate. Most audio hardware doesn't have inherent support or licensing. Also most users do not use third party software. The true concept here is that Windows treats 'codecs' and this level of technology as part of the OS. By supplementing PowerDVD as a solution, this changes the direction of Windows and once again makes it an Application layer issue, which is not good. (Even though other OSes like Linux keep these at the application layer, does not mean it is the right choice.)

I am not talking about a cheap outdated sound card. Heck, my onboard sound card Realtek has dolby surround built-in. My laptop also has it and is cranking all kind of sound effect like Movie, Music, etc. Sorry but indeed, most sound cards have dolby tech built-in nowadays.

Microsoft's Windows operating system has, over the years, got a good deal better at natively supporting media playback. It's not perfect by any means - native Blu-Ray support remains a notable exclusion, and many codecs still won't play without third-party software - but on the whole, media support on Windows has improved.

Ok, this is offered as in contrast to other OSes.

Yet can you name one OS that even comes close to inherent codec/media support as Windows 7? The answer is none...

Why make a contrastive or judgmental statement, when there is no higher standard to contrast it to, or use as the basis in creating this judgement?

This may have not been your intent, but wording portrays the OS as being bad at something and starting to do better at it. And in this context has to be averaged with other OSes and the standard of other OSes, and none exist that even 'try' to come close to Windows..

Windows is one of the few OSes that deal with codecs at the OS level with codec integration (even acceleration), where other OSes treat codecs as an Application layer issue, and becomes a quick mess for users.


thenetavenger said,
Windows is one of the few OSes that deal with codecs at the OS level with codec integration (even acceleration), where other OSes treat codecs as an Application layer issue, and becomes a quick mess for users.

Quick mess for users? You think most people spend their entire day in Activity Monitor looking at a list of running applications and services? Otherwise no one would ever really notice.

It's useful for Mum&Dads who wonder why their DVD isn't playing back with audio, but in general I guess people use other players, or will end up with some OEM version of PowerDVD. Personally I stick with MplayerC-HC, lightweight and has all codecs I need built-in, and plays DTS-HD and DolbyHD (though I wonder if it just reads the core).

and many codecs still won't play without third-party software

Yeah, well duh. Companies like Apple and Microsoft can't support everything out-of-the-box otherwise the retail price of their operating systems would skyrocket.

There's a good chance that this is just Microsoft firing a 'we will not be bullied' warning shot at Dolby who (speculation) could well have riled Redmond in licence cost negotiations. So Microsoft announce they're pulling the plug, Dolby fear their bottom line and go back to the negotiating table with their tail between their legs.

I would like to see native Blu Ray, even if it cost £4 more.

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