Question Options for getting Dolby Atmos from Apple TV+

Dave Lobster

Standard Member
Having recently activated an Apple TV+ subscription that was bundled with an iPad, i’d be grateful for success stories regarding the Dolby Atmos soundtracks that accompany many of the Apple original content. I’m using a Pioneer SC-59 AVR, 5.1.4 speaker configuration, outputting to an HD TV (2016 LG OLED).

  1. The obvious route is to purchase an Apple TV box. I presume that this will just work. Given that the last hardware update was some years ago, i’d not be surprised if the hardware is refreshed later this year. Would I be correct in thinking that playback of the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is independent of 4K video, HDR and Dolby Vision?
  2. Use a Lightning to HDMI adaptor. Can anyone confirm that Dolby Atmos will work via this route?
  3. Access via a web browser. I’ve tried this with no success using a Windows 10 PC connected via HDMI, with Dolby Atmos for Home Theatre speaker setup selected, and using the latest incarnation of Microsoft Edge (based on the Chromium engine). My receiver reports “DD Surround” and, strangely, the centre channel is silent. Has anyone had success via this route?
Other than a new TV with an in-built Apple TV+ app, are there any other routes I have overlooked?

Thanks in advance.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
You'd ordinarilly only get Atmos in association with the 4K UHD encoded content. If unable to play this then you'd also not be given access to the Atmos audio if and when the titles in question include it.

There;s no reason why a Lightining to HDMI cable wouldn't convey the associated HDMI signal, but you'd not be given access to the Atmos audio via the apps eunning on an iPad. THe iOS devices that actually include support fot Atmos are in fact very limited:

The only iPad to support Atmos would be the iPad Pro (2018) model.

You'd not get Atmos via a web browser. The web browser onboard most devices will not include the audio provisions required and the streaming services wouldn't include suvh audio via their web based sites.


Note that you'd need a 4K compliant ATV in order to facilitate accessing and the outputting of Atmos via an Applr TV box. The ATV itself would need to use something called Dolby MAT:

Dolby Atmos in Dolby MAT
The Dolby Metadata-enhanced Audio Transmission (Dolby MAT) encoder resides in a Blu-ray player to pack the variable bit-rate Dolby TrueHD bitstreams for transmission over the fixed bit-rate HDMI connections. A MAT decoder is subsequently employed in an AVR to unpack the Dolby TrueHD bitstreams. With the introduction of Dolby Atmos, we have expanded this technology to support encoding of Dolby Atmos content as lossless pulse-code modulation (PCM) audio.

A key benefit of Dolby MAT 2.0 is that Dolby Atmos object-based audio can be live encoded and transmitted from a source device with limited latency and processing complexity. Among the possible sources are broadcast set-top boxes, PCs, and game consoles. The Dolby MAT 2.0 decoder in an AVR outputs the object-based audio and its metadata for further processing. The Dolby MAT 2.0 container is scalable and leverages the full potential of the HDMI audio pipeline.


Note that a compliant ATV has to be configured in a specific manner in order to fascilitate outputting the Atmos metadata in association with multichannel PCM. You can find instructions on the configurations here:




Your easiest route to attaining access to Atmos encoded content available via most streaming services would indeed be to purchase a 4K Apple TV box. The Apple TV would need to be one more recent than the 4th gen model and would need to be running tvOS 12 or above:
 
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Dave Lobster

Standard Member
Thanks your detailed response.

Regarding the list on Dolby’s site of devices supporting Dolby Atmos, i’m slightly unsure what it means when it says the support is for “speaker playback”. Would I be right in thinking that this means “via an HDMI adaptor”, but not via headphones (using the technology which uses DSP to simulate spatial sound on stereo headphones)? Can any readers confirm that they have successfully played Atmos content using the Apply TV app from one of the supported iOS devices using this method?

Regarding web browsers, there does seem to be evidence that Microsoft Edge Chromium does support Dolby Atmos on Windows 10. e.g.


“Edge Chromium supports 4K Netflix with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, but only on Windows 10, and only assuming a user has the requisite hardware to take advantage of it”

Of course, whether tv.apple.com serves such content is another question.
 

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