Dolby Vision gaming is arriving on the Xbox Series X and S for testers who are a part of the Xbox Insider’s “alpha ring” group. This HDR format offers an upgraded set of features like support for dynamic metadata. Microsoft says the feature means “brighter highlights, sharper contrast, and more vibrant colors” in games when you’re playing on a Dolby Vision-compatible TV, offering “better clarity in both light and dark scenes.” The consoles currently support HDR via the less advanced HDR10 standard.
We’ve known Microsoft’s current generation of Xboxes would support Dolby’s HDR standard since before the consoles’ release. Last September, Dolby announced that they’d be “the first consoles to support the Dolby Vision HDR format with dynamic metadata for gaming.” Sony’s PS5, meanwhile, currently does not support Dolby Vision.
As well as improvements in picture quality, Microsoft says Dolby Vision support should be easier to configure for users. “Dolby Vision games automatically map to any display with Dolby Vision, you’re always seeing the best possible picture available,” the company says. “This means … no more sliders to adjust your picture settings.” However, it advises that testers might need to update their TV’s firmware to take full advantage of the technology.
During an earlier test of the feature in March, Forbes notes that users reported that all HDR games appeared to be outputting in Dolby Vision, rather than needing to specifically support the upgraded format. However, it’s unclear if this will be the case when the feature officially releases. As part of today’s announcement, Microsoft said it will be sharing more about the games that will take “full advantage” of the standard “soon.”
An earlier limited test of the feature got a positive reception. Forbes says alpha testers reported improvements to brightness, black levels, and color saturation in HDR games. At the time the feature seemed to be limited to 60Hz, but Forbes has more recently reported that Dolby is working with TV manufacturers to enable the standard to work at 120Hz.
In order to benefit from the feature, your TV will need to be Dolby Vision-compatible, as an increasing number of 4K TVs now are. But always be careful and check your specs. For example, Samsung — the largest TV manufacturer globally — doesn’t support the format.
Microsoft didn’t provide a timeline for when it expects the feature to roll out to everyone, noting only that it will be available “once we’ve completed testing.”