Apple promises Dolby Atmos is coming to Apple TV 4K

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Apple TV 4K
Apple TV 4K may look amazing, but its sound doesn't quite match. Yet.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s new Apple TV 4K set-top box doesn’t currently support Dolby Atmos surround sound, an early review reveals. However, this is something Apple plans to add in a future update.

Atmos, along with competitor DTS:X, are next generation surround sound formats, referred to in the industry as “object-based surround.” In contrast to regular surround sound, which sends specific audio tracks to different speakers, Atmos lets sound engineers place their sound “objects” in 3D space, and then makes your sound system work out how to replicate this.

That the Apple TV 4K supports the Dolby Vision 4K video format, but not its audio counterpart, is strange — although Apple says that support is “on the roadmap.” No specific timeframe is given for this to roll out, though.

No 4K YouTube, either

Surprisingly, the new Apple TV also doesn’t offer 4K or HDR support as part of its native YouTube app. This is related to the fact that YouTube’s 4K content is in the VP9 format, while Apple TV supports H.264, HEVC and MP4 formats. What this means to the end user is that you’ll only be able to watch YouTube video in 1080p, which may disappoint some users.

(The same limitation is present on Safari for iOS and macOS, meaning that this isn’t an exclusive issue with Apple TV.)

Apple started rolling out 4K iTunes content to customers last week. In a nice touch, if you previously paid to download an HD copy of a movie from iTunes, you’ll get an upgrade to 4K where available, without having to pay any more money.

The latest Apple TV ships tomorrow, priced at $179 with 32GB of internal storage or $199 with 64GB.

Source: The Verge

  • nathan m

    Note that unlike HD content, you won’t be able to download 4k content for local playback, to save on data cap usage, or to deal with slow internet connections.

    • stickyicky97

      You can download 4K to your computer or storage device and then use Home Share, correct?

      • daniel

        Nope.

  • stickyicky97

    Not ideal, but if I really want to watch YouTube in 4K, I’ll just use my Xbox One S or their native app on my 4K TV. Not a deal breaker.