macOS Sequoia Supports HDMI Passthrough for Dolby Atmos Content

In macOS Sequoia, several Apple apps have gained a new HDMI Passthrough feature that enables a Mac to send an unaltered Dolby Atmos audio signal to a connected AV receiver or soundbar.

dolby atmos hdmi passthrough
The new functionality appears in various places in macOS 15, including Apple's TV, Music, and QuickTime Player apps. Apple says turning on the option lets users "Play supported audio in Dolby Atmos and other Dolby Audio formats using HDMI Passthrough when connected to a supported device."

The feature is likely to be welcomed by users who connect their Mac to an external device that supports Dolby Atmos, such as an AV receiver or soundbar. When conected via HDMI cable, the device will be able to decode and output the full immersive Dolby Atmos audio as it was meant to be experienced by the creators, while sending any accompanying video signal to a connected TV.

It's unclear whether this option will be included in tvOS 18, but given that Apple has made it a system-wide feature in ‌macOS Sequoia‌, there is a good chance we will see it come to Apple TVs in a future update. Both ‌macOS Sequoia‌ and tvOS 18 are currently in developer beta, with public betas expected later this month, followed by a general release in the fall.

Related Roundup: macOS Sequoia
Related Forum: macOS Sequoia

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Top Rated Comments

Aaargh! Avatar
2 weeks ago

I think the Apple TV supports that already?
Apple TV only supports DD+ with Atmos, and only if you let the OS play the video file. Hopefully this change means proper support for bitstreaming: allowing any application directly send a stream of data to the receiver. That would allow apps like Plex to support Dolby TrueHD+Atmos and DTS:X.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ric22 Avatar
2 weeks ago
About time. Should have been implemented sooner.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Axl2023 Avatar
2 weeks ago
We are waiting for bitstream audio in tvOS 18 :)
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jus711 Avatar
2 weeks ago

Yeah I have no idea what the end of the OP meant when mentioning TvOS. Dolby Atmos and Audio of multiple formats is there has been there a few generations.
Not exactly, it supports lossy Atmos, not lossless HD audio like Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD-MA, it can’t decode those or send the unencoded version for the receiver to decode which is what passthrough would allow.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
urmaster Avatar
2 weeks ago

What sort of Atmos are we talking about here? The streaming kind or the lossless one?
Isn’t that the point of the feature; it’s pass through it doesn't matter what the content is.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
reallynotnick Avatar
2 weeks ago

Yeah I have no idea what the end of the OP meant when mentioning TvOS. Dolby Atmos and Audio of multiple formats is there has been there a few generations.
It’s not passthrough, it’s decoded into LPCM (LPCM+MAT in DD+ Atmos’s case) and sent to the device. And as already pointed out it’s just lossy DD+ not Dolby TrueHD.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)