Hardware Apple WWDC Dolby Atmos

Published on June 4th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson


WWDC 2018: Apple to add Dolby Atmos to coming tvOS 12

Apple has announced the addition of Dolby Atmos cinematic audio support on Apple TV 4K devices. The feature will be released in the “fall” as part of tvOS 12 and will only work with the latest 4K units.

“[Apple TV] is the only streaming player to be both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos certified,” Apple TV lead designer Jennifer Folse said during an announcement at Monday’s at World Developers Conference 2018 in San Jose, Calif.

iTunes will add Dolby Atmos content as well, and iTunes libraries will be upgraded for free on all 4K-supported titles. Existing iTunes purchases will receive Atmos sound-channel upgrades for free. The company did not confirm whether similar support will come to older Apple TV devices.

Atmos provides a more immersive audio experience by creating a sound bubble through a room by bouncing sound off the ceiling, making it more lifelike than traditional surround sound systems.

With the addition of Dolby Atmos, Apple TV users will need an Atmos-equipped sound system to hear the audio difference. There are various options from manufacturers like Samsung and LG such as the Samsung HW-K950 and the LG SJ9 Soundbar.

Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology announced by Dolby Laboratories in April 2012. It was first utilized by Disney and Pixar’s animated film Brave.

At the end of June 2014, Dolby Labs’ hardware partners announced that Dolby Atmos would be coming to home theaters. Among them were several established manufacturers of audio-visual home entertainment devices announcing new products that have now brought Dolby Atmos into home theaters across the globe. Products offered range from premium home cinema receivers and preamplifiers to mid-range home-theater-in-a-box packages of well-known brands such as Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer and Yamaha plus further models from lesser-known manufacturers and brands.

Because of limited bandwidth and lack of processing power, Atmos in home theaters is not rendered the same way as in cinemas. A spatially-coded substream is added to Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus. Atmos in home theaters can support 24.1.10 channels and uses the spatially-encoded object audio substream to mix the audio presentation to match the installed speaker layout.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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