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Apple Suggests Apple TV 4K Will Gain Dolby Atmos Support in Future tvOS Update

Apple TV 4K reviews are out, and one interesting tidbit is that the streaming media player could gain support for Dolby Atmos surround sound technology in the future by way of a tvOS software update.


"Apple told me that the lack of Atmos isn't a hardware limitation, and that support is on the roadmap," wrote The Verge's Nilay Patel.

Dolby Atmos was developed to give sound from movies and TV shows a more three-dimensional effect. Rather than being constrained to channels, sounds can be precisely placed and moved in three-dimensional space.

Patel explains:
Atmos and its competitor DTS:X are the next generation of surround sound formats, which the industry calls "object-based surround." Unlike traditional surround, which sends specific tracks of audio to specific speakers, Atmos allows audio engineers to place sound "objects" in 3D space, and your receiver or soundbar figures out how to recreate it.
Both the Xbox One S and Roku support Dolby Atmos. On the content side, Netflix has been rolling out support since July. Several theaters now play movies with Dolby Atmos sound, and many older titles have been remastered.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)


Top Rated Comments

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10 months ago
Why is Apple always so late to the game on visual and sound quality? Why is experience quality second rate to them? It's weird.

How long has Google ShieldTV, Roku, and a myriad of smartTV's had 4K, HDR, and bitsream for Atmos/DTS. Since before AppleTV4...
Rating: 14 Votes
10 months ago
Great news. I was hoping this would be possible. This is a beast of a streaming device, can't wait to get mine tomorrow!!
Rating: 10 Votes
10 months ago
This is important. Whether or not you use these formats, Apple has to at least try to quit lagging behind. I think that may be the biggest complaint I hear from long time devotees.
Rating: 5 Votes
10 months ago

Now they just need a configurable option to the TV app that lets it auto play the next episode after completing the last one. This was a useful feature they took away in 10.2 of tvOS. Yes, I sent feedback to the feedback page. I get why some people didn’t like that feature but anyone with kids understands how essential it is for road trips, etc. It’s such an easy option to make configurable and make everyone happy.

Can't disagree more. Road trips should have music and never any screens.

And yes, I do have kids ‍‍‍
Rating: 5 Votes
10 months ago
Now they just need a configurable option to the TV app that lets it auto play the next episode after completing the last one. This was a useful feature they took away in 10.2 of tvOS. Yes, I sent feedback to the feedback page. I get why some people didn’t like that feature but anyone with kids understands how essential it is for road trips, etc. It’s such an easy option to make configurable and make everyone happy.
Rating: 5 Votes
10 months ago

No Youtube in 4k. Deal breaker for me.


Pretty sure this it's up to YouTube to support 4K in their tvOS app. Give it time...
Rating: 5 Votes
10 months ago
Why Apple didn't have this in place for the launch of ATV5 is beyond belief, if ATV5 has HDCP 2.2 all you have to do allow audio passthrough and bitstream to the receiver to allow it to decode the audio.

I was so disappointed the ATV5 didn't have this, I ordered an Nvidia Shield straight away. I found this hard to believe I was doing this as I have used ATV since the first generation. I will Keep ATV4 but I love the HD sound the Shield allows me to have.

Please Apple Hurry up and Implement this.
Rating: 4 Votes
10 months ago
Ahhhhh, "just one future update away..." the appeasing spin solution to all things any Apple product lacks. The same was slung for all of the bugs and issues with the "4" too. And then we wait and wait and wait for such updates, hoping even seemingly simple improvements are delivered in a timely manner.

What is lacking with the this oft-slung spin is the corresponding concept of WHEN. For example, it's also a phone in just one future update. It's also a super computer cluster node in just one future update. In other words, it can be almost anything possible in modern software if the software is written for it. So WHEN is it this... or that? It becomes this or that whenever Apple decides to get around to writing the software.

Maybe it actually will adopt ATMOS next week? Or maybe that's next year? Or maybe there will be ATMOS2 in play before it adopts ATMOS? My guess: tangibles like that left out usually find their way into the next hardware model (where new money can be made from touting them). In spite of this rumor, I suspect ATMOS is much more likely in the future "6" than in some upcoming software update even in the next year or two. We've seen this before. We should know how this works by now.

But I'll hope right with anyone else interested in it!
Rating: 3 Votes
10 months ago
Wasn't the same theory proposed about Apple TV 4 and 4K support - that all it needed was an OS update? In the end, it required (?) a new one.
Rating: 3 Votes
10 months ago

And novels!


Yes! My 3 year old loves reading novels on 8 hour road trips!
Rating: 3 Votes

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