The Xbox One has literally just become available, however there is news going around that anyone with a surround sound headset will not be able to use them to their full potential at this moment in time. This is going to be severely bad news for a large number of people who own a high-end headset from the likes of Turtle Beach and Tritton to name only a couple as the new consoles optical output will only support two channel audio until an unknown date.
Albert Panello, the Director of Product Planning at Microsoft has made a statement that indicates that there will be an update coming in the future that will unload the full Dolby capability of the optical output, thus allowing surround headsets to run at their full potential. In the statement, he did specify however that if you were to own a Dolby only HDMI receiver then you should be able to get uncompressed 5.1 or 7.1 sound to your speakers as this has been made available.
“Dolby Digital is coming post launch. This was a SW scheduling issue pure and simple, and I know people are disappointed, but we will have it. Anyone with a HDMI receiver should be fine, as we pass the uncompressed 5.1 and 7.1 through HDMI as well as DTS. Even if you have a Dolby only HDMI receiver, you will still get 5.1 or 7.1 sound since those receivers should accept uncompressed surround. For the Dolby only headsets, my understanding is that these will work but you will only get stereo audio since we only pass Stereo and DTS through the optical port. I have not tested this myself, but I’m told it works. Regardless, I understand this is an inconvenience, but again we’re going to have Dolby coming.”
There is not any mention as to why full surround capability has been left out from the Xbox’s optical jack and there could be a number of reasons why, but there is the reassurance giving that it will be coming – we just don’t know when this will be at this moment in time.
With the battle against the PS4 just kicking off, there is the possibility that there will be some disgruntled customers who can’t use their existing hardware to its full capabilities, however this will become clear over the next week or so.