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How to Get Dolby Atmos On Netflix

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How to Get Dolby Atmos On Netflix

If you’ve spent any time researching or shopping for home theater products — whether TVs, soundbars, or full surround-sound systems — chances are you’re familiar with the phrase “Dolby Atmos.” Introduced in 2012, Dolby Atmos is one of the most immersive surround-sound formats available today.

Consumer tech has a tendency to put hardware before software. The rabbit hole world of home theatre devices is no exception. You can buy an 8K TV ,, but what can it do? Various A/V industries have managed to meet the Atmos standard. Dolby Atmos can be experienced on select Blu-rays as well as through a variety of streaming platforms including Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

This brings us to the main point of this article — how to stream Dolby Atmos surround sound via Netflix. If you want Atmos, you will need to pay for the most expensive Netflix streaming service.

Let’s first understand Atmos in a little more detail.

What is Dolby Atmos?

We’ve covered this revolutionary audio codec before, but it is worth reviewing the basics.

Before Dolby Atmos, traditional surround-sound layouts were most commonly designated as 5.1 and 7.1 systems. The “home theater” in a 5.1 arrangement is composed of three front speakers, also known as the left, right and center channels. The directional speaker family also includes two rear speakers (left, right and center channels), with a subwoofer to complete the sound staging for lower frequencies (the “.1” in 5.1).

A traditional 5.1 surround sound system.
The traditional 5.1 surround sound layout.

In a 7.1 arrangement we retain the speaker and subwoofer layouts and add two additional channels to the array. These speakers can be placed either on the sides or above the front speakers.

A 7.1 surround sound system.
In a 7.1 surround sound system, an additional two speakers are added as either ‘surround’ or ‘height’ channels.

Dolby atmos is, in large part, a surround format that uses additional, height-focused channels. What is the end result? The end result? A 3D surround sound experience that will bring you as close as possible to being in a movie theater.

Common Atmos configurations are 5.1.2, 7.1.2 and 7.1.4. The first digit represents the main speaker configuration. The second digit indicates how many subwoofers have been used and the last number is how many Atmos height channels are available.

Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 layout using 9 channels with four Dolby Atmos-enabled front and surround speakers
Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 layout using 9 channels with four Dolby Atmos-enabled front and surround speakers

While the best way to achieve complete Dolby Atmos immersion is with dedicated, down-firing ceiling speakers in arrangements of two or four, you can also buy Atmos-ready floor-standing and bookshelf speakers that feature additional drivers on top of the cabinets. These top-speakers emit sound upwards toward the ceiling where waves bounce back down to create a “height” effect.

If you’re limited on available real estate but still want to get as close to a full Atmos experience as possible, there are also some pretty amazing Dolby Atmos soundbars that are built from the ground up to tackle Atmos sound.

Netflix on a TV.

Phil Nickinson/Digital trends

Atmos and Netflix: Premium sound meets premium pricing

One of the most popular ways to experience the mighty power of Dolby Atmos sound is through your Netflix subscription. To get started, you will need to pay a bit more upfront. This is because Netflix locks Dolby Atmos movies and shows behind the paywall of their most expensive monthly plan — the $20-a-month Premium tier.

Sure, Netflix’s $15. 50-a-month Standard plan gets you unlimited HD streaming on two screens at once. If you already have an Atmos soundbar or speaker system, you may be able to get unlimited HD streaming on two screens at once. For $20 a month, not only does Netflix’s Premium plan unlock Dolby Atmos sound (for available titles), but you also get access to a huge library of Netflix UHD movies and shows on up to four screens at once.

How to know if you get Dolby Atmos

Simon Cohen/Digital Trends, and Nate Barrett/Digital Trends

A daisy chain of Atmos-enabled devices

You’ve upgraded your Netflix plan and can now proudly call yourself a “Premium” subscriber. Great, so when does the Atmos-fun begin?

First things first: In addition to all of those Dolby Atmos speakers you painstakingly installed last weekend, in order to get complete Atmos sound, you need to ensure that every single component and connection lined in and out of your A/V receiver, soundbar, and TV is properly equipped to handle and output Dolby Atmos.

If you plan on accessing Netflix from a streaming device like an Apple TV 4K or a Roku Streaming Stick, these devices need to be compatible with Dolby Atmos. The same goes for whatever HDMI cables (18Gbps or higher) you’ll be using to connect this hardware to your A/V receiver or soundbar. And yes, you guessed it: Your receiver and soundbar absolutely need to be built to process the Atmos codec as well.

Are you interested in accessing Netflix via your smart TV? You’ll need to make sure your TV is capable of outputting Dolby Atmos back into your A/V receiver or Atmos soundbar through HDMI ARC. Also, make sure the Netflix app that you have installed on your TV or A/V device supports Atmos. It’s not easy, but Netflix’s Atmos performance may vary depending on the hardware. This was something we found when looking at the format in detail.

Dolby Atmos TV on a stand.

Confirm you’re actually hearing Dolby Atmos

When browsing through Netflix’s library of movies and shows, titles that are available in Dolby Atmos will display an Atmos icon next to their description.

Please note that not all episodes or seasons of Dolby Atmos-compatible shows will work with Atmos. A few language issues are also to be considered. Not every Netflix movie or TV show supports Atmos in every language.

With all that being said, is there a surefire way to know that the audio coming out of your Atmos speakers is actually Atmos sound? Yes, the short answer is yes. The majority of A/V receivers or soundbars will have a display panel that displays the surround sound codecs it is currently using. When decoding Atmos audio, most displays will display “Atmos” and “Dolby Atmos”.

If you’re outputting Atmos from a smart TV and into an A/V receiver or soundbar, there’s a decent chance your TV will throw up some kind of quick Atmos indicator when you start streaming your Atmos movie or show.

Better still, if you have a TV remote that has an Info or Status button, press one to see a small display on your TV screen. This will tell you the resolution, refresh rate, and type of audio being processed. Your TV is sending Netflix-powered Atmos to your A/V system if “Atmos” appears in its entirety or abbreviated.

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign


Author: Mark Hachman
, Senior Editor

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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Cheaper OLED monitors might be coming soon

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more
Google Pixel watch



The Google Pixel Watch is incoming
(Image credit: Google)

We’re expecting the Google Pixel Watch to make its full debut on Thursday, October 6 – alongside the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro – but in the meantime a major leak has revealed much more about the upcoming smartwatch.

Seasoned tipster @OnLeaks (opens in new tab) has posted the haul, which shows off some of the color options and band styles that we can look forward to next week. We also get a few shots of the watch interface and a picture of it being synced with a smartphone.

Watch faces are included in the leak too, covering a variety of different approaches to displaying the time – both in analog and digital formats. Another image shows the watch being used to take an ECG reading to assess heartbeat rate.

Just got my hands on a bunch of #Google #PixelWatch promo material showing all color options and Watch Bands for the first time. Some details revealed as well…@Slashleaks 👉🏻 https://t.co/HzbWeGGSKP pic.twitter.com/N0uiKaKXo0October 1, 2022

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Full colors

If the leak is accurate, then we’ve got four silicone straps on the way: black, gray, white, and what seems to be a very pale green. Leather straps look to cover black, orange, green and white, while there’s also a fabric option in red, black and green.

We already know that the Pixel Watch is going to work in tandem with the Fitbit app for logging all your vital statistics, and included in the leaked pictures is an image of the Pixel Watch alongside the Fitbit app running on an Android phone.

There’s plenty of material to look through here if you can’t wait until the big day – and we will of course be bringing you all the news and announcements as the Google event unfolds. It gets underway at 7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm BST / 12am AEDT (October 7).


Analysis: a big moment for Google

It’s been a fair while since Google launched itself into a new hardware category, and you could argue that there’s more riding on the Pixel Watch than there is on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro – as Google has been making phones for years at this point.

While Wear OS has been around for a considerable amount of time, Google has been leaving it to third-party manufacturers and partners to make the actual hardware. Samsung recently made the switch back to Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, for example.

Deciding to go through with its own smartwatch is therefore a big step, and it’s clear that Google is envious of the success of the Apple Watch. It’s the obvious choice for a wearable for anyone who owns an iPhone, and Google will be hoping that Pixel phones and Pixel Watches will have a similar sort of relationship.

What’s intriguing is how Fitbit fits in – the company is now run by Google, but so far we haven’t seen many signs of the Fitbit and the Pixel lines merging, even if the Pixel Watch is going to come with support for the Fitbit app.

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you’ll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.

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