The Xbox One will ship without support for Dolby encoding, Microsoft director of product planning Albert Penello confirmed in a NeoGAF post today.
"Dolby Digital is coming post launch," Penello wrote. "This was a SW scheduling issue pure and simple, and I know people are disappointed, but we will have it.
"Anyone with an HDMI receiver should be fine, as we pass the uncompressed 5.1 and 7.1 [audio signals] through HDMI as well as DTS. Even if you have a Dolby only HDMI receiver (which I'm not sure exists), you will still get 5.1 or 7.1 sound since those receivers should accept uncompressed surround."
Surround sound headset maker Astro Gaming, some of whose peripherals intercept a Dolby signal from a S/PDIF port, will support simulated surround sound on the Xbox One at its launch tomorrow, Nov. 22, according to a post on the peripheral maker's Facebook page.
Astro peripherals will convert stereo signals to simulated surround by processing it with Dolby ProLogic II and encoding it with Dolby Headphone technology.
The Xbox One will also ship with HDMI audio in support in beta form. Those planning to use peripherals like cable boxes that will pump audio into the Xbox One through HDMI will need enable the "Surround Sound (BETA)" feature to activate surround sound support. You can find those steps on the official Xbox Support site.
According to Penello, Microsoft disabled the feature as a default because it "found some inconsistencies in [set-top boxes] during testing and decided to disable it by default to insure a good initial setup experience for people."
Marc Whitten, corporate vice president at Xbox, also confirmed on Twitter that the feature can be toggled on at launch.
You can learn more about the Astro A50 wireless gaming headset by reading The Verge's review.