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Xbox One is getting Dolby Vision HDR support, but only via streaming

If you’re an Xbox Insider on the Alpha Skip Ahead or Alpha tiers you can now start testing out Dolby Vision support for streamed content on the console. 

You’ll need either an Xbox One S or Xbox One X in order to view HDR content at all (sorry, original Xbox One owners), but if you’re able to tick all the boxes then you should see a subtle boost to HDR (via Xbox Wire).

There’s unfortunately still no mention of whether the functionality will or even could come to Ultra HD Blu-ray disc playback — a shame when the consoles already offer a great affordable way to play the new discs.

Instead it’s a streaming-only technology, which is pretty handy when Netflix already has plenty of Dolby Vision content available to stream.

Why Dolby Vision?

The update means that the consoles now support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR standards. Dolby Vision is best thought of as an upgraded form of HDR compared to HDR10. The big addition is dynamic metadata, which allows content to adjust peak and minimum brightness on a scene-by-scene basis.

This means that content which features very bright scenes and very dark scenes will be optimised for both rather than having to find an average that might omit brighter details in bright scenes and vice versa in dark scenes.

It sounds complicated, but when you look at content side by side it offers a subtle improvement.

HDR10+ is the only other standard that supports dynamic metadata of this kind, but the number of devices that supports it is currently even smaller.

The other big addition Dolby Vision brings to the table over HDR10 is support for 12-bit colour depth. However, for the time being at least, this isn’t going to lead to any perceptible difference. There just aren’t any TVs out there at the moment that either feature 12-bit panels or go bright enough to make them necessary.

One day, when TVs are equipped with 12-bit panels that can get bright enough it might be a feature worth getting excited about, but for now it’s just extra data that’s ignored by the TV when it’s displaying the video.

Do you think Dolby Vision offers a noticable upgrade over HDR10? Let us know @TrustedReviews. 

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