Windows 8 gets Dolby Digital Plus audio support

All Windows 8 hardware will now have audio support provided by one of the most well known companies in the business. Dolby announced today it has signed a deal with Microsoft so that Windows 8 desktops, laptops and tablets will use the Dolby Digital Plus surround sound audio codec. Dolby Digital Plus will be supported for both desktop and Metro-style apps and also for Windows 8 x86 and Windows 8 ARM-based machines.

Tami Reller, Microsoft's Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Officer for Windows and Windows Live, stated in the press release:

With the incredible growth of online download and streaming media, particularly for video content, this agreement ensures a great audio experience for those consumers who wish to download or stream TV and movies containing Dolby Digital Plus. Additionally, all of their existing and future home videos recorded with Dolby Digital Plus audio will work great on Windows 8 right out of the box.

AllThingsD.com reports that Dolby will receive a licensing fee and royalties from PC makers that use Dolby Digital Plus for Windows 8, with a higher royalty rate for PCs that have an optical disc drive. No other financial details about the new deal were disclosed.

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This is a bit funny. Remove native DVD playback OOTB but have DD+ support? Do you folks over at Microsoft have your heads screwed on straight? Er, at all even?

Jason Stillion said,
Gain Audio codex, lose DVD mpeg2 codex

DD+ is in Windows 7 as well. This is about a 'renewed' support for the technology and a shift in licensing to the OEMs based on the Audio they provide in the device.

Specifically with ARM level Tablets and the different licensing they are using for Windows 8 on them.


The headline is misleading, as John really should know better. I think he wanted you and others to click on his article.

If it means having 3D annoying sound effect then no thanks. I hate when they put those so-called "enhancement" because at the end it sounds like you're listening to a ton of garbage floating in space.

boumboqc said,
If it means having 3D annoying sound effect then no thanks. I hate when they put those so-called "enhancement" because at the end it sounds like you're listening to a ton of garbage floating in space.

Um, ya it doesn't... This is not about simulated 3D sound.

Pardon my ignorance, but I'm no expert in audio systems. What's wrong with the surround sound abilities that my computer is already capable of?

Chugworth said,
Pardon my ignorance, but I'm no expert in audio systems. What's wrong with the surround sound abilities that my computer is already capable of?

The DD+ (and others) can be sent to decoder boxes that are both higher quality than what you have in your computer, and more powerful. This also allows for fewer cables from the computer to the media system, at higher audio qualities (this may be useful on tablets, for example) as the only physical transport layer supported is HDMI

Sraf said,

The DD+ (and others) can be sent to decoder boxes that are both higher quality than what you have in your computer, and more powerful. This also allows for fewer cables from the computer to the media system, at higher audio qualities (this may be useful on tablets, for example) as the only physical transport layer supported is HDMI


My motherboard has an optical audio port. I've never used that type of port before, but isn't that for sending digital audio to a decoder box through a single cable?

Chugworth said,

My motherboard has an optical audio port. I've never used that type of port before, but isn't that for sending digital audio to a decoder box through a single cable?

Yes and no, it is used for audio over a single cable, but that leaves you with video. DD+ is also incompatible with SPDIF (which is what that TOSLINK port is).
DD+ is compatible with HDMI, and can be transmitted over the same line as the video (one cable for audio and video)

Jimmy422 said,
Now if they implemented native Blu-Ray support...that would be awesome.

Windows 8 doesn't even support playing DVD movies anymore. No, I am not kidding. Windows 7 seems to be the last OS to support this for now. For windows 8, you will need to purchase Media Center to even be allowed playing DVD videos.

Or, use VLC. VLC still works and is the best!

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,

Windows 8 doesn't even support playing DVD movies anymore. No, I am not kidding. Windows 7 seems to be the last OS to support this for now. For windows 8, you will need to purchase Media Center to even be allowed playing DVD videos.

Or, use VLC. VLC still works and is the best!

I'm rather dubious of that claim, I will have to test for myself when I get home

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,

Windows 8 doesn't even support playing DVD movies anymore. No, I am not kidding. Windows 7 seems to be the last OS to support this for now. For windows 8, you will need to purchase Media Center to even be allowed playing DVD videos.

Or, use VLC. VLC still works and is the best!


Good luck with that, Sony seems to have a strangehold on the market. Hell you can't even play blu-rays properly on PCs due to the encryption. Programs like anydvd and powerdvd just try to crack the encryption but you won't get menus.

Sraf said,

I'm rather dubious of that claim, I will have to test for myself when I get home

It DOES NOT work! Media center won't play in in the consumer preview, nor will Media player. The new blog post in building windows 8 blog explains this. This didn't work since the developer preview!

Sraf said,

I'm rather dubious of that claim, I will have to test for myself when I get home

Well seems that it does not, and with that blog post, seems they will not be intending to build it in. That was unexpected

Sraf said,

Well seems that it does not, and with that blog post, seems they will not be intending to build it in. That was unexpected

Yea, I know. I have been surprised when I inserted a DVD movie, and Windows Media Player couldn't play it in Windows Developer Preview back in September. And when I told someone that Windows 8 doesn't play DVDs, guess what, they didn't believe me at first. Well, now it's official.

-Razorfold said,

Good luck with that, Sony seems to have a strangehold on the market. Hell you can't even play blu-rays properly on PCs due to the encryption. Programs like anydvd and powerdvd just try to crack the encryption but you won't get menus.

**LanMan874 hopes Neowin doesn't double post**

What!? I Play Blu-Rays just fine on my Windows 7 x64 PC. Yes, its not supported natively in Windows but it can be done. plays perfectly through PowerDVD, menus and all.

I heard someone say to me Windows 7 cant play blu-rays at all (he heardit from a friend) and i was like shocked as I've been playing Blu's with no problem since I bought my PC in 2010!

Salem874 said,

**LanMan874 hopes Neowin doesn't double post**

What!? I Play Blu-Rays just fine on my Windows 7 x64 PC. Yes, its not supported natively in Windows but it can be done. plays perfectly through PowerDVD, menus and all.

I heard someone say to me Windows 7 cant play blu-rays at all (he heardit from a friend) and i was like shocked as I've been playing Blu's with no problem since I bought my PC in 2010!

It depends on the disc, and the version of bluray used. PowerDVD still has to crack the encryption used on the disc in order to get the files to play, and its pretty sad that they have to do that but Sony refuses to support it. Some discs will work with menus, but I believe there are some that won't (the movie will still play ok though).

Keep in mind PowerDVD costs something like $90, and honestly I find it dumb that you have to pay extra just so you can use the features of the drive you bought.

Uh, Windows 7 already has Dolby Digital Plus support. I guess they renewed it after all.

Steven Sinofsky said they weren't, and it was one of the costs related to Windows Media Center.

SikSlayer said,
Uh, Windows 7 already has Dolby Digital Plus support. I guess they renewed it after all.

Steven Sinofsky said they weren't, and it was one of the costs related to Windows Media Center.

not true, windows 7 has dolby digital, dolby digital plus is a newer codec that uses better audio compression. UK Freeview HD uses LE-AAC and boxes can transcode this to DD5.1 so that it plays on all DD5.1 equipment, microsoft is adding this as tv cards and streaming video are now using this a lot.

Instead of streaming 448kbps AC3 DD5.1 they could use say 160kbps DD+ and achieve a similar quality. 192kbps is just a random number btw as an example.

torrentthief said,

not true, windows 7 has dolby digital, dolby digital plus is a newer codec that uses better audio compression. UK Freeview HD uses LE-AAC and boxes can transcode this to DD5.1 so that it plays on all DD5.1 equipment, microsoft is adding this as tv cards and streaming video are now using this a lot.

I am VERY sure, Windows 7 has Dolby Digital Plus already. Always did.

http://hd.engadget.com/2009/08...ort-for-dolby-digital-plus/
http://www.dolby.com/us/en/con...re/microsoft-windows-7.html

Snowknight26 said,

Windows 7 does not have DD+ support. Nothing uses DD+ anymore so it's really irrelevant. Heck, only one or two demo Blu-rays use it, and even then, it's a special derivative of DD+ (unlike the standard one such as on HD DVDs).

Vudu for one, uses it. Even if nothing used it, the fact is Windows 7 already has the support for it. Nothing you've said changes that.

The articles I linked to leave no room for debate.

torrentthief said,

not true, windows 7 has dolby digital, dolby digital plus is a newer codec...UK Freeview HD uses LE-AAC and boxes can transcode this to DD5.1 so that it plays on all DD5.1 equipment, microsoft is adding this as tv cards and streaming video are now using this a lot.

Yes, UK TV uses LE-AAC with LATM. But this has NOTHING to do with Dolby Digital Plus. Dolby Digital Plus ISNT AAC and has nothing to do with AAC.

The UK decided to use LE-AAC with LATM for it's digital terrestrial HD service (branded locally as Freeview HD) as this allows for Audio Description, which is a requirment of all UK PSBs (Public Service Broadcasters) which the current 5.1 channel standard, Dolby Digital (Not NOT Dolby Digital Plus), doesn't support. It had been mentioned that Dolby Digital Plus would allow for Audio Descriptions, but this codec wasn't chosen (i cant remember the reason they gave, I'm sure its on one of the BBCs many blogs somewhere)