There's a common disadvantage that home theatre PCs and multimedia notebooks share over dedicated DVD, Blu-ray or similar players. Namely the sound quality is almost certainly not as good as a stand-alone solution. Fear not, though, because Dolby has updated its PC Entertainment Experience (PCEE) suite, aiming to bring the computer-based home cinema up to scratch.
PCEE comprises two separate products, Dolby Home Theatre and Dolby Sound Room and each has been updated in conjunction with the launch of Acer's new Aspire notebooks. Both suites offer improvements to post-processing, including Natural Base, which Dolby claims to provide better low-range response and clarity from speakers, and Sound Space Expander, intended for stereo sources and aims offer a wider sound-stage improving, for example, instrument separation and hopefully providing a better listening experience in films as well.
New to Home Theatre we see support for 7.1-channel sound, including virtual 7.1 from other sources using Dolby Pro Logic IIx. Meanwhile, still included is Dolby Digital Live, which offers digital output to a separate decoder, in case your on-board solution isn't good enough for your needs.
Also included in the update is Dolby Control Centre, a new interface for configuration of Dolby's software suite. Currently the only systems featuring this updated Dolby audio processing are the aforementioned new Acer systems, but expect that list to grow in the coming months.