• Dolby Atmos

    Dolby Atmos propels you into the story and into the music with powerful, all-around sound.

    Dolby Atmos Benefits

    • Dramatic New Moviegoing Experience

      Dolby Atmos® goes far beyond surround sound to create a new level of realism for moviegoers. In a movie with Dolby Atmos, cinema sound moves around the theatre to match what you see on the screen.

    • Overhead Speakers for Added Realism

      Cinemas equipped for Dolby Atmos have overhead speakers that heighten the realism. Rain on a roof, airplanes taking off—you'll hear the sounds exactly where they would be in real life.

    • Always Reflects the Creator's Intent

      Dolby Atmos gives filmmakers full creative control over the placement and movement of sound around the audience. No matter the size of the theatre, you'll always see and hear the full realization of their creative visions.

    • Independently Controlled Speakers

      Theatres equipped for Dolby Atmos employ up to 64 independently controlled speakers. You'll hear extraordinary power and impact when the director calls for it. You'll also hear the most subtle details with amazing clarity.

    How Dolby Atmos Works

    Dolby Atmos takes a unique and innovative layered approach to sound design.

    A Dolby Atmos soundtrack starts with a base layer that consists largely of static ambient sounds, mixed using the familiar channel-based method. Layered on top of these are dynamic audio elements that can be positioned and moved precisely to correspond to the images onscreen.

    Metadata records how these elements should behave during playback—behavior that best matches the director's intent, regardless of theatre configuration. This dual-layer approach gives film creators greater power and freedom while ensuring you have a consistent experience in any theatre.

    Technical Details

    • Object-oriented mixing layers the independent sound elements over channel-based audio content for clearer and more accurately positioned sound.
    • Descriptive metadata captures all the director's intent and provides customized playback for each cinema.
    • The mix automatically generates optimum soundtracks for theatres with 5.1- and 7.1-channel setups.
    • Support for up to 128 simultaneous and lossless audio elements in a mix delivers a rich, realistic sound experience.
    • Dolby Atmos scales easily to any size cinema, with up to 64 independent speaker outputs.

    Experience It

    See the latest theatre innovations for Dolby Atmos, the evolution of cinema sound, or director interviews, or find a theatre near you.

    Dolby Atmos for Cinema Professionals

    Dolby Atmos provides a complete platform for cinema sound. It offers powerful solutions for creators, distributors, and exhibitors alike.

    Content Creators

    Tell your story more powerfully, with unprecedented control over the placement and movement of sound within the theatre.

    Distributors

    Greatly simplifies your operations by eliminating multiple format inventories. With Dolby Atmos, the same file will play in any theatre.

    Exhibitors

    Delivers a compelling experience that your audiences can get only at the cinema and optimizes playback for any speaker configuration.

    Dolby Atmos: A Revolution in Home Theater

    The cinema, with its giant screen and massive sound system, will always be the reference for the ultimate entertainment experience. Dolby Atmos cinema systems have up to 64 independently powered speaker outputs. While home theaters have fewer speakers, Dolby Atmos provides an extremely powerful experience. It continues to convey the full, original artistic intent, far beyond what has previously been possible in home audio reproduction.

    Technical Background

    Audio Objects

    With Dolby Atmos, any sound can be rendered as a single audio element—an object—independent from the rest of the soundtrack. A child yelling, a helicopter taking off, a blaring car horn—the filmmaker can decide exactly where the sound should originate and where it should move as the scene develops.

    This approach allows the filmmakers to concentrate on the story. For channel-based audio, filmmakers must determine which speakers should reproduce which sounds, an approach that could compromise the artistic intent. With Dolby Atmos, filmmakers simply determine where the sound should be located, and the system intelligently makes the speaker-assignment decisions. Audio objects originate and move anywhere in multidimensional space, including anywhere overhead. You will experience a soundtrack as you would in a natural environment

    Dolby Atmos supports up to 128 simultaneous audio objects in a cinematic mix. These include stationary sounds that are reproduced through all the speakers, such as a music background. Content mastered for home reproduction includes all the audio objects from the original film, placed in multidimensional space just as in the cinema.

    Optimal Playback Everywhere

    Descriptive metadata accompanies every Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Using this metadata, the rendering block in an A/V receiver (AVR) adapts the soundtrack to the home environment and its specific speaker setup.

    Content Delivery

    For home theaters, Dolby Atmos will initially be delivered via Blu-ray Disc™ or through streaming video services. All decoding, rendering, and processing is managed by the Dolby Atmos enabled AVR. Dolby Atmos content plays through standard Blu-ray™ players and streaming media players connected to the AVR via HDMI® and with the bitstream output function engaged. As with movie theatres, Dolby Atmos content for the home enables compatible playback through conventional 5.1 and 7.1 channel-based systems.

    Your Dolby Atmos Home Theater Setup

    Dolby Atmos combines traditional home theater speaker layouts with additional speaker positions. These include either ceiling-mounted speakers or new Dolby Atmos enabled speakers designed to reproduce the overhead height layer of objects and sound.

    The good news: if you already have a 5.1, 7.1, or greater surround sound system, you'll most likely be able to build on it. And it need not take up any more space than your current system. What You'll Need For more comprehensive information, see the Home Theater Setup Guide and the Dolby Atmos Speaker Setup Guide.

    Playing Dolby Atmos Content Dolby Atmos content is delivered on Blu-ray Disc or through streaming video services. To play it back, you'll need any of the following equipment:

    • Blu-ray player. Current and recent products that fully conform to the Blu-ray specification are advised.
    • Streaming media player, or a Blu-ray player or game console with streaming ability.

    Whichever you choose, set the player to bitstream output and connect to the receiver via HDMI. (Be sure to also disengage the secondary audio feature on your Blu-ray player).

    Dolby Atmos is compatible with the current HDMI specification (v1.4 and later).

    A Dolby Atmos A/V Receiver

    You'll need an AVR, preamp/processor, or home theater in a box (HTIB) that supports Dolby Atmos. This component handles all of the necessary signal processing and rendering. Leading AVR manufacturers are introducing these products now, with more to come.

    Check out our Dolby Atmos Home Theater Products page, and watch for announcements throughout the year.

    Speakers

    Overhead sound is an integral part of Dolby Atmos. Adding this capability to your home theater system is key to your multidimensional experience. You have two options for overhead sound: 

    • Ceiling speakers. Full-range speakers with wide dispersion characteristics, plus timbre and power matched to your primary speakers, are ideal choices here.
    • New Dolby Atmos enabled speakers. This is the more practical alternative for most setups. Dolby Atmos enabled speakers are specially engineered to direct sound upward, where it reflects off the ceiling to produce an incredibly lifelike re-creation of overhead sound.

    Dolby Atmos enabled speakers come in two versions: 

    • Integrated units also include traditional forward-firing speakers.
    • Add-on modules, containing only the upward-firing elements, that you can place on top of your current speakers or on a nearby surface. Dolby Atmos enabled speakers are designed to work best in rooms with ceiling heights from eight to 14 feet (2.4 to 4.3 meters), with ceilings that have acoustically reflective surfaces, such as drywall or plaster.

    Basic Setup

    You will need at least two speakers, either overhead or Dolby Atmos enabled, that can generate overhead sound and objects. For the best reproduction of Dolby Atmos, we recommend four speakers.

    Dolby Atmos home theaters can be built upon traditional 5.1 and 7.1 layouts. For Dolby Atmos, the nomenclature differs slightly: a 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos system is a traditional 7.1 layout with four ceiling or Dolby Atmos enabled speakers.

    The AVR automatically optimizes the Dolby Atmos playback for your speaker complement and layout. 

    A Note on Compatibility

    We designed Dolby Atmos to be backward-compatible, so it will play on both new and existing channel-based systems. You'll always hear the optimum mix for your system, from stereo to 5.1 or 7.1.

    Dolby Atmos Documents

    Dolby Atmos for Home 

    • Dolby Atmos for the Home Theater 
    • Dolby Atmos Enabled Speakers 
    • Dolby Atmos Installation Guide 

    Dolby Atmos for Cinema 

    White Papers

    User's Manual