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Microsoft to Partner with Dolby for Windows 8 Audio?

by on04 May 2012 2512 times

steve_ballmer_apple_tabletAfter our initial story of Microsoft’s idea to remove DVD playback and Media Center support from core installations of Windows 8 (you can still get it with an upgrade purchase) we find out a bit of news that simply makes no sense in light of what we are hearing about its crippled media playback functions. It appears that Microsoft is going to lean on Dolby Laboratories for enhanced audio in Windows 8.

Now as anyone with a basic familiarity with computers knows, simply having Dolby onboard is not going to automatically make the audio better. You still have to have good hardware behind this. What adding Dolby Digital will do is make the “good enough” audio better. Dolby software can be used in two ways; the first is to use Dolby audio profiles and enhancement techniques to improve the recorded sound. This is called post processing and is used all the time. However, to play these profiles back you have to either have Dolby compliant hardware or run software to read these.

It is this second part that really makes no sense. You see Dolby Digital Plus is an application (well really a series of services) to allow non-Dolby hardware to read and play back the Dolby audio streams. These are normally dropped into movies… Movies like DVDs, BlueRay and other streaming media. Now we know that Microsoft wants very desperately to move to the cloud with Windows 8. They WANT you to use services like Netflix, Hulu and even their own cloud based media service so bad they are have removed the option to use regular media unless you pay extra for it.

This is starting to make them sound more and more like Apple with each new bit of information we hear about them. One of Microsoft’s greatest attractions is that it was not a limited-functionality software. You could install it on almost anything that do what you wanted to with it. Now with Windows 8, Microsoft is forcing the Metro UI on you, limiting many of the things you can do and even locking down certain functions unless you use a “Microsoft” account.

We said this many months ago; Windows 8 could be a game changer… if Microsoft can get out of their own way. It is really looking more and more like Microsoft is falling back into old patterns where they take a good idea and run it into the ground. We hope that there is enough of a consumer response to the current state of Windows 8 that Microsoft will change their minds about the direction they are going. After all I do not think they want another Windows Millennium. I can vividly remember people moving from Windows ME to Windows 2000 Professional just to have a stable OS that did not shove a bunch of useless features down your throat. And people thought Vista was bad…

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Last modified on 04 May 2012
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