A good picture needs good sound. At FeinTech, we understand the importance of immersive audio experiences. That's why we're happy to introduce Dolby Atmos here. We often get questions as to why Dolby Atmos sound is not possible, even though the audio system supports it. We would like to explain this in a little more detail:
What is Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. Unlike traditional surround sound systems that are limited to a horizontal plane of sound, Dolby Atmos adds a vertical dimension to your audio experience. This means that the sound can come from any direction, including from above.
How does Dolby Atmos work?
Dolby Atmos works by adding height channels to traditional surround sound setups. It uses either ceiling-recessed speakers or upward-facing speakers that bounce the sound off the ceiling. Of course, such a structure can rarely be realized in normal living rooms. Most users have a soundbar with sound projection to create a similar effect.
Where is Dolby Atmos available?
The footage must already be produced with Atmos sound. So Atmos cannot be added to a film afterwards (unless it is a cartoon). Although Atmos sound has been available on Blu-ray discs for individual titles since 2014, it only became popular through streaming services. Therefore, only newer films and series have Atmos sound, and almost always only in the original language. In order to get Atmos sound, you often have to play the film in English. Exceptions here are European productions for streaming services such as Netflix or Sky. There is sometimes also Atmos sound in German.
With streaming services , the Atmos sound is only available with the highest video quality. So only in Ultra HD and not in Full HD
These are common sources or services:
- Netflix: Premium subscription required (Ultra HD)
- Sky: only with term subscription and with "UHD option", output only with 4K version
- Disney+: No additional charge, but Atmos is only played with 4K output
- Amazon Video: No additional charge, but Atmos is only played with 4K film version and 4K output, very small range of Atmos films
- Paramount: No Atmos content
- German TV libraries: No Atmos content
- Blu-ray discs: Depending on the film title
Important to know about streaming services: If the Internet speed is too low to transmit the highest quality, there is no Atmos sound either. Or if the setting was turned down manually, there's no Atmos.
So why is there no Dolby Atmos with a full HD projector or television?
As described, all providers require a high-resolution Ultra HD screen in order to get the best possible sound in Atmos. Full HD displays are therefore left out. One option is to subscribe to Netflix for Ultra HD but then play it in Full HD. This works, for example, with an Apple TV 4K as a media player. However, this does not work with other services, and it is uncertain whether this will remain possible in the long term. Users of streaming services can only use Atmos reliably with a 4K display
Blu-ray discs or commercial titles can also offer Atmos sound with Full HD resolution.