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Windows 8 to support Dolby Digital Plus audio codec after all

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Microsoft is adding Dolby's Digital Plus 5.1-channel stereo codec to Windows 8. The licensing cost will be borne by OEMs, who will pay a higher fee if their products contain an optical drive.

Dolby Logo Crate Stock 1020
Dolby Logo Crate Stock 1020

Dolby has announced that Microsoft will build support for Dolby Digital Plus stereo technology directly into all Windows 8 computers. The codec (also known as Enhanced AC-3) will enable 5.1-channel surround sound in desktop and Metro-style apps on both X86 and ARM devices. It will be included on the full OS lineup, including Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows RT — the latter of which has us dreaming of an ARM-based, Metro home theater PC, just a little.

While Dolby's Digital Plus has been found in Windows Vista and Windows 7, in August of last year Dolby stated that its technologies were "not currently included in the Windows 8 operating system under development," leaving the future of the relationship up in the air. Should the relationship have fallen through, manufacturers would have been left to license the codec from Dolby directly. However, just because Microsoft and Dolby have come to a deal doesn't mean manufacturers won't pay licensing fees. All Things D notes that OEMs will have to pay Dolby directly in order to use the codec, a fee that is higher for computers with an optical disc drive.