Sky has confirmed it is rolling out Dolby Digital 5.1 output over HDMI to selected Sky+ HD set-top boxes.
Sky says the software update is coming to all Sky DRX8xx boxes, so the DRX890 and DRX895 Sky boxes, the latter being the 2TB Sky+ HD box.
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At the moment, Sky+ HD boxes require an HDMI cable to transmit the picture from the box to the TV or projector, and a separate optical digital cable to a home cinema amplifier to output 5.1 surround sound.
You will need to go in to Settings > Sound menu to enable the Dolby DIgital 5.1 over HDMI setting (see below, picture courtesy of SkyUser), once the software update has been pushed to your box.
The update is being sent out automatically to the relevant Sky+ HD boxes over the next two months.
The software update will then hit other Pace and Samsung set-top boxes "later in the year".
There is also a new Eco mode included in the update, which puts the Sky box in to a low power mode, using just 0.5 watts, when not in use. More details here on Eco mode (opens in new tab).
Sky first revealed plans to enable DD 5.1 over HDMI back in July 2009 and it seems like we're finally seeing the update. The ability was already enabled on the latest Sky Amstrad multiroom box.
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Written by Joe Cox