Dolby: Windows 8 doesn’t include our DVD playback support

By Tom Warren, on 5th Aug 11 3:05 pm with 48 Comments

Dolby admitted on Thursday that current builds of Windows 8 do not include the company’s Dolby Digital Plus technologies.

Dolby revealed the omission on a post-earnings conference call on Thursday. “We have recently learned that our technologies are not currently included in the Windows 8 operating system under development,” said a statement by Dolby. “If our technologies are not included in the commercial version of Windows 8, we expect to support DVD playback functionality by increasingly licensing our technologies directly to OEMs and ISVs, and we will seek to extend our technologies to further support online content playback.”

Microsoft previously included support for Dolby Digital Plus directly into Windows 7. The support allows DVD playback of up to 7.1 channels of high-def surround sound. Forbes reports that Dolby’s shares are trading lower on Friday after Dolby’s announcement. At the time of writing, Dolby’s stock is down 17%. The lack of Dolby support in Windows 8 could point to Microsoft licensing DVD Playback software from another vendor or providing a different option for Windows 8 customers.

Microsoft will announce its Windows 8 plans at the company’s BUILD developer conference in Anaheim, California next month. Microsoft has promised that developers and hardware manufacturers will get their first experience of Windows 8 at BUILD.

  • GP007

    I don’t see why MS would drop this built in support from Win8 if it is in Win7.   Dolby has no clue what is going on with Win8 like the rest of us don’t, so they should sit and wait for a official beta or something.

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      Heh they do have a clue. Microsoft has a number of ISVs and hardware manufacturers under strict NDA. A lot of people have a clue what’s in Windows 8 besides just Microsoft.

    • Anonymous

      well I think people(MS’s partners) have bits of information about what will be added and what will be left out because of licences and agreements etc but until its near completion I don’t they will have the bigger picture.  

    • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

      So would this be a cost issue for functionality not really needed? How many DVD’s are actually encoded with DD+? Maybe 3rd party software is used for playback more than the builtin players? Wouldnt surprise me going by all the “i have media player” posts on AV forums.

    • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

      So would this be a cost issue for functionality not really needed? How many DVD’s are actually encoded with DD+? Maybe 3rd party software is used for playback more than the builtin players? Wouldnt surprise me going by all the “i have media player” posts on AV forums.

    • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

      So would this be a cost issue for functionality not really needed? How many DVD’s are actually encoded with DD+? Maybe 3rd party software is used for playback more than the builtin players? Wouldnt surprise me going by all the “i have media player” posts on AV forums.

    • GP007

      That’s true, but you said it just now, “under strict NDA”, this doesn’t seem to be the case at all.  

    • Mark

      Which makes Dolby’s contention that they’re just learning about it all the more dubious. More likely they’ve known for some time, and their last attempt to negotiate a different outcome just failed.

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      Indeed, I’d suspect that’s the case.

    • http://aaron-kelley.net/ Aaron Kelley

      Microsoft always drops some stuff in a new Windows release.  Here’s the first of many items possibly dropped in Windows 8.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_Vista

    • http://aaron-kelley.net/ Aaron Kelley

      Microsoft always drops some stuff in a new Windows release.  Here’s the first of many items possibly dropped in Windows 8.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_Vista

    • Anonymous

      IF MS was going to add Dolby support, they would have paid for a license by now. So, I think Dolby might not know what’s in Win 8, but they definetly know what is out, Dolby Surround sound.

  • Anonymous

    It sort of makes sense with DVD being a dying format. Digital is the future. I just hope that Microsoft sees the light and starts using MKV over MP4.

    • http://www.ardentra.com Ardentra

      Whats better about the MKV container vs. MP4 or M4V. Isn’t it all h.264 anyways?

    • http://www.ardentra.com Ardentra

      Whats better about the MKV container vs. MP4 or M4V. Isn’t it all h.264 anyways?

    • GP007

      MKV gives you ordered chapters like DVD while MP4 doesn’t afaik.  Maybe some other stuff as well, you’d have to read up on it.

    • Anonymous

      The main things I’ve been missing from MP4 is that it can not contain lossless TrueHD and DTSHD audio streams, MKV can also contain more subtitles and audio tracks then MP4 can.

      From what I’ve read, you can also add different video tracks so you can have say a main movie, and then add a trailer and a documentary to the same MKV, but I’ve not gotten this to work yet.

      They’re also working on menu-support for MKV, so the MKV container could basically offer the same as a full DVD/BR-disk in the future.

    • Guest

      It would also be nice for WMP/Zune to finally support standard/open subtitles(srt). Its just too comon for me to open a film in WMP and then realise it doesnt support the subtitles…

  • Avatar Roku

    If they want Windows 8 tablets to be able to compete with Android & iPad tablets on price then they probably need to eliminate as many license costs as possible. If the hardware manufacturer wants to buy the Dolby license they can get it themselves and add it to the cost of the hardware.

    • Aaron

      Agree.  Tablets won’t use DVD’s and I believe Ultrabooks will be too thin for them.  As for desktops and other laptops, I can’t even remember the last time I played a DVD now that I have Netflix.  I’m not saying its a feature that will never be used again, but Dolby should either charge MS less for it, or MS should drop them to reduce costs.

    • Anonymous

      People can always buy media player software that includes Dolby if they want the functionality.

    • Anonymous

      People can always buy media player software that includes Dolby if they want the functionality.

  • Avatar Roku

    If they want Windows 8 tablets to be able to compete with Android & iPad tablets on price then they probably need to eliminate as many license costs as possible. If the hardware manufacturer wants to buy the Dolby license they can get it themselves and add it to the cost of the hardware.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Floyd/1358554781 Stephen Floyd

    Maybe this has something to do with trading out Windows Media Player for Zune software? Just a thought…

    • SteveBallmer

      Most likely, since Zune already replace WMP when you have it installed.

    • M8R-0qyod31

      In what sense does zune replace wmp when you install it? WMP is still there, the only thing that changes is the default app for opening content. The same thing happens if you install VLC…

  • jas_pl

    first they remove hardware directsound, then dolby… what’s next? speakers?

    • Anonymous

      they are making it cheaper by removing unnecessary features. wise move ms.

    • http://minecraftadventures123.weebly.com Lester

      Maybe, Anyway I WILL Be Getting Rid Of My Crappy Vista And Getting a Mac When I Can Afford It. Macs Are Expensive Here….

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      Nobody can take you seriously when you still use Vista.

    • Anonymous

      macs are expensive in everywhere. waste of money.

    • Guest

      Mac is a good fit for someone who can’t even capitalize correctly.

    • http://twitter.com/NorrathReaver Shane Nokes

      He capitalizes like Kevpan does…

  • Anonymous

    honestly, don’t care. I dont’ have a 7.1 system on my pc or want to watch movies on it. My Xbox360 does just fine.

    • Andrew

      I stream movies from my PC to my 360 through WMC, I love it.

    • Andrew

      I stream movies from my PC to my 360 through WMC, I love it.

    • http://twitter.com/PeterKremzar Peter Kremzar

      I just built my HTPC with Windows 7 Media Center and Xbox 360 as an extender. I hope W8 will be compatible with my current setup.

  • http://openid.tomservo.eu/ Tom Servo

    Unless Microsoft wants to downmix uncompressed 7.1 channels to AC3, I don’t see why they would need to pay licensing fees. Unless Dolby wants dough for passing AC3 on the DVD as-is to the SPDIF. Which would be ludicrous.

    PC gaming systems have 5.1 or 7.1 speaker systems directly attached to the sound card, no need for any dicking around with AC3, DTS or whatever else.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously, it’s the test builds that these are not included in. The final version will include them obviously.

    • http://twitter.com/tonycubed Tony

      Dolby know more than us.  If Dolby support has been removed from Windows 8 then this is because it’s a licence issue or Microsoft don’t think it should be included as default or not at all.  

    • http://twitter.com/tonycubed Tony

      Dolby know more than us.  If Dolby support has been removed from Windows 8 then this is because it’s a licence issue or Microsoft don’t think it should be included as default or not at all.  

    • Anonymous

      Then I will copy the files over from Windows 7 and happily violate the EULA.

    • http://minecraftadventures123.weebly.com Lester

      Yeah, If I Were You I Would Do That. :-)

      P.s. I have a homemade image of a fake build of Windows 8!

  • Guest

    Dolby just wants money from licensing costs.  I say they can get bent…

  • http://www.facebook.com/andreas.balzer Andreas Balzer

    Guys, Windows 8 is currently in pre (pre)* alpha-state. They obviously don’t need Dolby support when they try stuff at their dev PCs.

    • http://twitter.com/NorrathReaver Shane Nokes

      Incorrect. Win8 surpassed alpha a long time ago, and was in pre-beta builds months ago. By now it’s firmly in beta territory.

  • Guest

    Hey Tom, how did you manage to miss the biggest story of the day: Gmail gets a preview pane?

    But that’s not copying [rolls eyes].

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have anything else to add (I agree with people on the Tablet/Ultrabook w/ sans-optical drive argument).  I don’t think I have ever played a DVD on my Windows 7 box.