Microsoft Windows 8-Based PCs and Tablets to Playback Dolby Digital Plus Content

Premium Dolby Digital Plus Audio Content Incoming to Mainstream PCs at PC Makers' Expense

by Anton Shilov
05/03/2012 | 09:18 PM

Dolby Laboratories of Thursday said that Microsoft Corp. will incorporate Dolby decoding and encoding technologies for online and file-based content into all versions of Windows 8. The pact ensures the presence of Dolby Digital format on Windows ecosystem beyond Blu-ray or DVD and creates the opportunity to bring a differentiated audio experience to Windows-based PCs and tablets. What should be noted is that PC makers will be forced to pay for DD support.


"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," said Tami Reller, chief financial officer and chief marketing officer for Windows and Windows Live at Microsoft.

Developers will be enabled to deliver the highest level of immersive experiences and cinematic sound through Windows 8 APIs in desktop and Metro-style apps, including those developed for x86 and ARM architectures. Dolby Digital Plus 5.1-channel decoding and Dolby Digital two-channel encoding will be supported in all PCs and tablets licensed to run Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT editions.

What is important is that every single Windows 8-based personal computer maker will be obliged to pay Dolby a base royalty rate for playback of online content with DD audio. Should PC manufacturers want to enable playback of CDs, DVDs, etc. with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio using Windows applications, they will need to pay higher royalties for that. As a result, Dolby will essentially receive more royalties from PC suppliers, whereas some of the latter will save on software needed to playback DD+ audio content as it will now be supported by Windows.

"Dolby's goal is to deliver the best possible entertainment experience, wherever content is delivered through broadcast, broadband, or wireless networks. We are pleased to be working with Microsoft to address the growing demand for high-definition content delivered across a broad range of services and devices. Widespread availability of Dolby Digital Plus on Windows 8 will enable more people to enjoy cinematic sound anytime, anywhere, and on any device," said Ramzi Haidamus, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Dolby.