Latest Insider Alpha build adds Dolby Vision to Xbox Series X and Series S
Microsoft rolled out a new alpha insider preview build a couple of days back with version number 2104.210317-0000. Shortly after the update, owners of the Xbox Series X and Series S, who are part of the alpha testing ring, have reported that HDR games on these consoles are now playing in Dolby Vision on compatible TVs.
In September last year, Microsoft had said that the new Xbox Series X and Series S consoles support Dolby Vision HDR format, but that support will only be enabled sometime in 2021. It seems that we are getting closer to an official release date as a Forbes report confirms that the feature is currently in the testing phase. While the official patch notes for the new 2104 alpha update do not mention anything about Dolby Vision, Microsoft replied to a Forbes query with the following- “As we announced last year, we’re excited to be bringing Dolby Vision support for gaming to our new Xbox consoles in 2021. The feature is currently in testing, and we’ll have more to announce on general availability timing and functionality soon.”
It was initially assumed that Dolby Vision support would only work with a limited number of games. However, Alpha Ring users have found that all games that support HDR would be presented in Dolby Vision on compatible TVs that support the format. Additionally, the Forbes report also mentions that the system in testing currently works with 4:2:2 and 60Hz signals, which means that you will be limited to 60 frames per second if you enable Dolby Vision. We are assuming this limitation is because the Dolby Vision implementation is part of a test build, and hopefully, there will be changes when the final update rolls out.
Early testing suggests that with Dolby Vision, one can expect improvements in brightness, black levels, and color saturation of HDR games compared to their original HDR10 forms. It is also notable that the way Dolby Vision is being implemented on the Xbox Series X and Series S is not the same as how the format works on PC games as it needs to be coded into a game. Even Dolby suggested that the way the format will be available on the new Xbox consoles is that there would be specific games supporting it. Expect better clarity once the feature is rolled out for all users.
Once the new Xbox consoles gain the ability to support Dolby Vision, Microsoft will have the edge over Sony, whose consoles are currently limited to HDR10. Of course, you still need a TV that supports the format.