Home Tech News What is needed to have Dolby Atmos sound quality on the TV

What is needed to have Dolby Atmos sound quality on the TV

What is needed to have Dolby Atmos sound quality on the TV
Dolby Atmos sound.  (photo: Hi-Fi Pro)
Dolby Atmos sound. (photo: Hi-Fi Pro)

Home theater isn’t just about the picture. Sound is equally important and there have been significant advances in that area in recent times. People are no longer confined to 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems, as fully immersive cinematic experiences can now be enjoyed thanks to the proliferation of Dolby Atmos.

Available in movies, sports broadcasts, and even games these days, Atmos is doing for sound what Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD did for video performance.

But what is Dolby Atmos? Why is it an experience worth living? And, what does a user need to get the most out of it? TechMarkup brings all the answers to these questions, from the hand of a specialist.

What is Dolby Atmos Music

Dolby Atmos takes the old surround sound home theater concept, but adds height channels to deliver a more immersive sound effect in a room.

For example, instead of having the sound of raindrops or helicopters traveling at the same height as your ears with 5.1, with Dolby Atmos the user will be able to hear the rain falling from above or a helicopter. The helicopters move in the air and in the distance, making the sound experience more real.

“What the Dolby Atmos format allows is that the cinema experience, in the case of sound, is more immersive. Normally when you hear a classic sound, it comes from the speakers of the system in front of you. well this technology allows the sound that is emitted from the device bounce off the ceiling and walls, producing the effect as if it were in a cinema”, Yeison Gonzalez told TechMarkup, regional coach of Sony Latin America.

Dolby Atmos introduces new speaker configurations, such as 5.1.2, which has five whole room speakers, a subwoofer and two height channel speakers. You can also have 5.1.4, 7.1.2 or 7.1.4.

Dolby Atmos sound.  (photo: Pocket-lint)
Dolby Atmos sound. (photo: Pocket-lint)

What does a user need to have Dolby Atmos Music at home

First of all, it is important to know that you need a equipment capable of decoding the sound signal and send it to the internal or external speaker system. So, if at home you already have a SmartTV compatible with Dolby Atmos, in theory everything is already covered with respect to the previous point, as long as this also has the app in the app store to access the content.

But, if it is not the case to have this type of Smart TV, to enjoy the best possible Atmos experience, “ceiling loudspeakers are the right choice” continues the expert. Atmos is capable of supporting up to 24 floor speakers and 10 pendant speakers.

However, not everyone can get them, so the most common approach at home is “use an upward facing Atmos speaker to project the sound towards the ceiling and reflect it down to the listening position.” And that’s the way many manufacturers of speakers, AV receivers and sound bars use today.

Dolby Atmos.  (photo: Sound & Vision)
Dolby Atmos. (photo: Sound & Vision)

For devices with traditional stand-alone speakers, such as home theater sound systems, this means adding enhanced modules.

Some brands offer speakers that sit on existing left and right stands or near an AV stand. These units are specific to Dolby Atmos and are designed to tilt slightly so that the sound bounce off the ceiling and return to your sitting position.

Some manufacturers integrate equalizers on your left and right bookshelves or floor speakers. So, in addition to the sound that is directed towards you, they also shoot upwards.

To control a dedicated Dolby Atmos speaker, whether it’s an overhead or ceiling-mounted light module, compatible AV receiver required. Most of the major AV brands support Dolby Atmos in their product lines and they all come in different price points to suit different budgets.

Dolby Atmos sound.  (photo: movilzone.com)
Dolby Atmos sound. (photo: movilzone.com)

Also, the issue has been treated as if it were assumed that the user has room for a full Atmos surround sound setup. What if the added height effect is desired but space is at a premium? “Then you can opt for a Dolby Atmos sound bar”, Gonzalez explains.

Most major audio brands offer Dolby Atmos soundbars in some form. Many offer models with upgraded speakers built into the upper body, others offer a virtual Atmos effect, recreating a wider soundstage to deliver that immersion, but without firing the sound straight up.

Dolby Atmos sound bar.  (photo: ComputerHoy)
Dolby Atmos sound bar. (photo: ComputerHoy)

What services do Dolby Atmos offer?

All of the above sounds good, but where can you find this kind of sound? Well, this offer is scarce at the moment, although in recent years possibilities have been added and it is increasing little by little.

In the case of music streaming services, normally only premium versions offer this sound quality, which means that the user will have to pay a monthly subscription fee, not available on free services like Youtube. This is the case of three of the most popular, such as tide, Amazon Music Y Apple Music.

Apple Music and Amazon Music logos.  (photo: 20Minutes)
Apple Music and Amazon Music logos. (photo: 20Minutes)

As for streaming services, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video Y Disney+ support Dolby Atmos in movies and TV shows, like AppleTV through your Smart TV applications and your own decoder.

In terms of other streaming devices, roku admits it, as well as the boxes of AndroidTVWhat Nvidia ShieldTV Y Amazon’s Fire TV.

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