In context: So far, Sony has seemingly resisted paying Dolby the licensing fees required to incorporate its audiovisual technologies into the PlayStation 5. However, the console's latest beta OS update suggests a shift in the company's stance on the matter. In addition to this, the update also teases new user interface features and enhanced storage compatibility.
Starting Monday, select PS5 owners in the US, Canada, Japan, UK, Germany, and France can try a new system software beta that adds features like Dolby Atmos, various UI enhancements, and support for 8 TB SSDs. The update will be available globally later this year. Chosen participants will receive an invitation by email on Monday. Sony warns that it can't guarantee all features from the beta will make it into the final build.
With the beta, audio using Sony's proprietary Tempest 3D AudioTech now supports HDMI-powered Dolby Atmos devices like soundbars, TVs, and home theater systems, including overhead channels.
Beta participants can find the Dolby Atmos switch under Settings > Sound > Audio Output > Audio Format (Priority).
The update adds Dolby Atmos support for games, but streaming apps need to receive patches from developers to support the feature. Sony hasn't indicated whether Atmos is a step toward including Dolby Vision – a significant advantage that standalone streaming boxes have over the PS5. Microsoft's Xbox Series consoles already support Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision for apps and games but not for Blu-ray playback.
As for internal storage, most PS5 owners are currently limited to a maximum of 4 TB (and most planning to expand their storage are probably looking at the plummeting prices on 1 TB and 2 TB drives), but the new beta raises the cap to 8 TB. Those willing to spend $1,000 or more on an 8 TB NVMe drive should remember that Sony suggests one with sequential read speeds of 5.5GB/s or better, which means a PCIe 4.0 model.
Among the UI updates is a feature that lets players more easily join friends in multiplayer games and see exactly what activities they're engaged in. Other social features receiving changes include party invites, share screens, and tournament hubs.
A new accessibility feature lets users assign two controllers as if they were one, which could allow collaborative play sessions. It could also expand the helpfulness of the upcoming PS5 accessibility controller for players with special needs. The option is located under Settings > Accessibility > Controllers > Use Second Controller for Assistance.
Furthermore, the beta introduces functions to add haptic feedback to the system UI, turn off the console's beep sound, search for games in your library, and more.