San Francisco - Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system will support Dolby Digital Plus multichannel audio, Dolby Laboratories announced.
The compressed-audio format will be available in the Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Windows 7.
Dolby Digital Plus supports up to 7.1 channels and such features as bitstream mixing for secondary audio tracks. It maintains the quality of Dolby Digital at a lower data rate, and it's fully compatible with all current Dolby Digital A/V receivers, the company said. The format is an authorized format on Blu-ray discs, is used to deliver Internet content, and is the broadcast audio standard for HDTV services in such countries as France, Italy, U.K., Spain and Sweden.
In the Windows Vista OS, Dolby Digital 5.1 was integrated into the Ultimate and Home Premium editions. Vista was the first Microsoft OS to integrate Dolby Digital technologies. With previous Microsoft operating systems, including XP, consumers who wanted to decode or encode Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks had to add a third-party application.
In another PC-related announcement, Dolby said Lenovo would offer the first netbooks with Dolby Headphone technology, which creates a virtual 5.1-channel soundfield through a standard headphone pair. The netbooks are the IdeaPad S12 and S10-2
Dolby Headphone technology can be included in most products that incorporate a headphone output, and it can process stereo or multichannel audio, the company said.