get Dolby Atmos on Netflix

Should you’ve been spending any time trying into house theater merchandise — whether or not TVs, soundbars, or full {surround} sound methods — chances are high you’re acquainted with the phrase “Dolby Atmos.” Launched in 2012, Dolby Atmos is likely one of the most immersive {surround} sound codecs out there right this moment.

Shopper expertise has a penchant for placing {hardware} earlier than software program, and the rabbit-hole-world of house theater units is not any exception to this rule. (You should buy an 8K TV, however what are you able to watch on it?) That mentioned, numerous A/V sectors have finished nicely to maintain up with the Atmos normal. You possibly can presently expertise Dolby Atmos with choose Blu-rays and thru an array of streaming platforms, together with Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, and sure, Netflix.

This brings us to the main focus of this piece — the way to expertise Dolby Atmos-surround sound by means of Netflix. The quick model is that you just’ll have to pony up for the most costly Netflix streaming plan in order for you Atmos.

Earlier than we start, although, let’s break down Atmos a bit extra to greatest perceive the constructing blocks you’ll have to get Atmos sound.

What’s Dolby Atmos?

We’ve lined this groundbreaking audio codec intimately earlier than, however the fundamentals are actually value reviewing.

Earlier than Dolby Atmos, conventional {surround} sound layouts had been mostly designated as 5.1 and seven.1 methods. In a 5.1 association, the “house theater” is made up of three entrance audio system — known as the left, proper, and middle channels. Two rear audio system (left and proper channels) full the directional speaker household, with a subwoofer rounding out the sound-staging for decrease frequencies (the “point-one” in 5.1).

A traditional 5.1 surround sound system.
The standard 5.1 surround-sound format with three entrance audio system, two rears, and a subwoofer.

In a 7.1 association, we preserve the identical speaker and subwoofer format and add one other two channels to the array. These two extra audio system can be utilized as both side-facing “{surround}” audio system or as extra “peak” channels positioned above the 2 entrance audio system.

A 7.1 surround sound system.
In a 7.1 surround-sound system, an extra two audio system are added as both “{surround}” or “peak” channels.

Dolby Atmos, by and huge, is a {surround} format constructed round extra, height-focused channels. The top end result? An entire 3D surround-sound expertise that can get you as near sitting in an actual movie show as humanly attainable.

Widespread Atmos configurations embody 5.1.2, 5.1.4, 7.1.2, and seven.1.4 — with the primary digit representing the principle speaker configuration, the second digit for what number of subwoofers are in use, and the final quantity for what number of devoted Atmos height-channels there are.

Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 layout using 9 channels with four Dolby Atmos-enabled front and surround speakers
Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 format utilizing 9 channels with 4 Dolby Atmos-enabled entrance and {surround} audio system

Whereas the easiest way to realize full Dolby Atmos immersion is with devoted, down-firing ceiling audio system in preparations of two or 4, you can too purchase Atmos-ready floor-standing and bookshelf audio system that characteristic extra drivers on prime of the cupboards. These top-speakers hearth sound up in direction of the ceiling, the place the waves are bounced again down for a simulated “peak” impact.

Should you’re restricted on out there actual property however nonetheless wish to get as near a full Atmos expertise as attainable, there are additionally some fairly superb Dolby Atmos soundbars which are constructed from the bottom as much as deal with Atmos sound.

Atmos and Netflix: Premium sound meets premium pricing

Netflix navigation on a TV.

One of the vital common methods to expertise the mighty energy of Dolby Atmos sound is thru your Netflix subscription. Sadly for a few of us, that is going to require a bit extra cash upfront to even get issues began. It’s because Netflix locks Dolby Atmos motion pictures and exhibits behind the paywall of their costliest month-to-month plan — the $18-a-month Premium tier.

Positive, Netflix’s $14-a-month Customary plan will get you limitless HD streaming on two screens without delay. However in case you’ve already shelled out the dough for an Atmos speaker system or soundbar, chances are high you could have an unbelievable 4K TV to match your top-notch audio. For $18-a-month, not solely does Netflix’s Premium plan unlock Dolby Atmos sound (for out there titles), however you additionally get entry to a big library of Netflix UHD motion pictures and exhibits on as much as 4 screens without delay.

A daisy chain of Atmos-enabled units

How to know if you get Dolby Atmos

You’ve upgraded your Netflix plan and might now proudly name your self a “Premium” subscriber. Nice, so when does the Atmos-fun start?

First issues first: Along with all of these Dolby Atmos audio system you painstakingly put in final weekend, as a way to get full Atmos sound, you might want to be sure that each single element and connection lined out and in of your A/V receiver, soundbar, and TV is correctly geared up to deal with and output Dolby Atmos.

Should you plan on accessing Netflix from a streaming system like an Apple TV 4K or a Roku Streaming Stick, these units want to be suitable with Dolby Atmos. The identical goes for no matter HDMI cables (18Gbps or greater) you’ll be utilizing to attach this {hardware} to your A/V receiver or soundbar. And sure, you guessed it: Your receiver and soundbar completely should be constructed to course of the Atmos codec, as nicely.

Planning on accessing Netflix by means of your sensible TV? You’ll want to ensure your TV is able to outputting Dolby Atmos again into your A/V receiver or Atmos soundbar by means of HDMI ARC. You’ll additionally have to guarantee that the model of Netflix’s app constructed on your TV (or A/V system) can help Atmos by means of and thru. Sure, it’s a bit daunting, however actually, Netflix’s Atmos efficiency can range from one piece of {hardware} to the subsequent — one thing we found when inspecting the format up shut.

Verify you’re really listening to Dolby Atmos

When looking by means of Netflix’s library of flicks and exhibits, titles which are out there in Dolby Atmos will show an Atmos icon subsequent to their description.

Dolby Atmos logo on a TV.

Understand that not each season or episode of a Dolby Atmos-compatible present will help Atmos. There are additionally just a few language holdups to take care of, as not each TV present or film on Netflix helps Atmos for each out there language possibility.

With all that being mentioned, is there a surefire option to know that the audio popping out of your Atmos audio system is really Atmos sound? The quick reply is sure. Most A/V receivers and soundbars will characteristic some type of show panel that offers you a readout of the kind of {surround} sound codec it’s presently working with. Usually, your show will learn “Atmos” or “Dolby Atmos” when decoding Atmos audio.

Should you’re outputting Atmos from a wise TV and into an A/V receiver or soundbar, there’s an honest probability your TV will throw up some type of fast Atmos indicator once you begin streaming your Atmos film or present.

Higher but, in case your TV distant has some type of Information or Standing button, after urgent one in all these, it is best to see some type of small readout in your TV display that tells you what decision is being displayed, what refresh fee the TV is working with, and what sort of audio is being processed. If “Atmos” is written out in full or abbreviated, this implies your TV is efficiently sending Netflix-powered Atmos again into your A/V system.

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