Both Xbox One S and Xbox One X consoles have supported the HDR10 format since their respective launches. Soon, they will become the first gaming consoles to support the more advanced Dolby Vision format, and among the few streaming devices (after Apple TV 4K and Google’s Chromecast Ultra) to support both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
Dolby Vision support only for Netflix
In a post on Xbox Wire detailing “System Update 1810,” Microsoft announced they were adding support for the premium Dolby Vision high dynamic range format “in the coming weeks.” The news was also confirmed by Brad Rossetti of Microsoft’s Xbox and PC Gaming team. In a tweet to Xbox Insiders, Rossetti thanked them for helping the company with the testing of the Avatar experience and Dolby Vision.
“Today we are excited to announce our latest entertainment option, Dolby Vision video streaming support across Xbox One S and Xbox One X!” Microsoft said in a blog post.
The support, however, for now, is only coming for the video streaming services. According to Microsoft, the new feature will only work with the Netflix app and a Netflix Premium subscription initially. So far there are no details on when the feature would support games. Also, it is believed that Dolby Vision won’t support 4K discs as of now.
The Dolby Vision support is currently in the testing phase, and is made available to the testers under the Xbox Insider scheme. This will help the company to roll out the stable version to all the Xbox One S and X consoles. To enjoy the new feature, you will need a TV set compatible with Dolby Vision.
How it affects Xbox One vs. PS4?
Dolby Vision adds scene by scene information to HDR pictures, enabling the display to show them more effectively. A TV that supports Dolby Vision gives out more subtle color and shadow detail, natural colors, and more extreme contrast. Traditional HDR is more of “set and forget,” i.e., once the setting is locked, it remains the same.
“Dolby Vision enables select TVs to take HDR up a notch with scene-by-scene precision and accuracy versus standard HDR which uses one setting for the entire movie/show you are watching,” Microsoft said.
Though users may not often change their TV sets, Dolby Vision support does make Xbox One more future proof at a time when companies are constantly upgrading HDR standards. For now, Xbox One consoles support Dolby Atmos. But, adding Dolby Vision makes the console a perfect option for users who want to make their home console a multimedia center.
And, this gives the Xbox One consoles an edge as rival Sony’s PS4 consoles are yet to support the Dolby Vision. A thing in favor of Sony, however, is the sales and the big lead that it has over the Xbox. Though Dolby Vision support does give Xbox an edge, it may not help much with the sales. Also, it is very likely that Sony will add Dolby Vision support to its consoles soon, thus nullifying the edge that Xbox enjoys.
Talking of sales, Sony sold 73 million consoles up to last year, while Microsoft reportedly sold just 30 million Xbox Ones. It is somewhat clear that Microsoft may never catch up to the PS4, and that it will have to work really hard to retain its second spot as Nintendo Switch is fast approaching.
More updates for Xbox One consoles
Apart from the support for the Dolby Vision format, System Update 1810 brings Avatars on the dashboard, additional language options for the Narrator feature and updated search functionality, which now shows the games that a player owns even if they are not installed. Users will now see Avatars across user profiles, Community posts, Gamerscore comparisons and more.
“Avatars are a unique representation of your desired style, personality, creativity, and mood as you play on Xbox One,” Microsoft says, adding there are options for customization and presentation to allow users to show their “unique style through your Avatar.”
New languages coming to the Narrator feature on Xbox One are Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Swedish and Dutch. Further, support has also been added for the Australian version of English, “so Australian users will no longer have to select the US or UK English in order to use Narrator.”