Dolby Digital 5.1 Games a Reality

Dolby Digital 5.1 Games a Reality

Dolby Laboratories announced that the Xbox video game system from Microsoft will feature the new Dolby Interactive Content Encoder, a breakthrough technology that dynamically encodes multichannel audio into Dolby Digital 5.1.

The first encoder of its kind, the Dolby Interactive Content Encoder enables real-time Dolby Digital encoding in game consoles and allows gamers to experience explosive, cinematic audio using high-quality home theater systems. The Xbox, upon its release in the United States and Japan in the fall of 2001, will be the first gaming industry product to feature this technology. Previous video game systems could utilize Dolby Digital 5.1 only during non-interactive "cut scene" playback. In contrast, the Dolby Interactive Content Encoder enables the Xbox to provide interactive Dolby Digital 5.1 during actual gameplay, immersing the player in surround sound when it matters most, while playing the game.

"Dolby technologies have an increasing presence in all gaming platforms and we are pleased to welcome Microsoft to our growing list of licensees," said Richard Hockenbrock, vice president of licensing operations for Dolby Laboratories. "Dolby Interactive Content Encoder Streaming marks the beginning of an exciting era of fully interactive multichannel audio and is the first of many exciting new technologies from Dolby Laboratories."

"We have chosen to incorporate the Dolby Interactive Content Encoder into the Xbox format because of its ability to deliver a superior multichannel audio experience to the gamer," said J Allard, General Manager, Xbox Platform. "We're delighted that the Xbox is the first gaming platform to be able incorporate real-time Dolby Digital effects into game play."

The Dolby Interactive Content Encoder, as used in the Xbox, achieves superior output for all multichannel four and 5.1 channel game audio from Dolby Digital home theater/speaker systems with low latency-rendering interactive game sound effects in the same surround sound quality offered in DVDs. Moreover, the Xbox has a dedicated digital signaling processing unit within the Xbox Media Communications Processor, the chip that houses the Dolby Interactive Content Encoder technology, enabling the unit to perform on-the-fly Dolby Digital audio encoding with no game performance penalty.