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Dolby Atmos for the home brings the ultimate cinema sound experience to your home theater to create powerful, moving audio that flows around you.
Part One: Learn how Dolby Atmos works.
You'll feel like you're inside the action as the sounds of people, music, and things come alive with breathtaking realism and move all around you in three-dimensional space.
Reproduces up to 128 simultaneous audio objects in a mix for rich, realistic, and breathtaking sound.
Dolby Atmos® discs and online content are fully compatible for playback on conventional stereo and on 5.1- and 7.1-channel systems, giving you the same outstanding experience you’ve always enjoyed.
As movie directors increasingly choose Dolby Atmos for their soundtracks, you'll find a growing library of movies and other content on Blu-ray Disc™ and online from premium services.
With a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar, or as few as six speakers in a conventional home theater system, you can enjoy the magic of Dolby Atmos. See our Dolby Atmos Speaker Setup Guide.
Our recommended Dolby Atmos sound bar placement
Traditional surround soundtracks must confine all sounds to the 5.1 or 7.1 channels of a typical home theater setup. If a scene requires, say, a helicopter taking off, that sound has to be assigned to specific channels and mixed together with other sounds.
While that helicopter can move across channels, it can't go above you. You hear it only from the small number of predetermined locations defined by the speaker setup, not as you'd hear it in real life.
Dolby Atmos, by contrast, frees sound from channels. It's the first cinematic audio format in which sounds exist as individual entities, called audio objects. In Dolby Atmos, any sound—the helicopter, a car screeching around a corner, a melodic bird call—can exist as an independent audio object, free of channel restrictions. They can be precisely placed and moved anywhere in your room, including overhead, to flow above and around you in three-dimensional space.
Through the use of audio objects, overhead sound, and all the richness, clarity, and power of Dolby sound, Dolby Atmos turns your room into an amazing place for entertainment. You'll feel like you're inside the action, in ways you've never before experienced.
Dolby Atmos for the home represents every sound in the original cinema mix as an audio object. Extensions to our Dolby Audio™ codecs, along with an advanced scalable algorithm, allow Dolby Atmos to be delivered via Blu-ray Disc and streaming media. A Dolby Atmos audio/video receiver (AVR) adapts the cinema experience to your home theater from seven speakers to as many as 34, recreating the original artistic concept.
Equip your home theater with the latest products, and learn how to set them up for the best sound.
Dolby Atmos is based on the concept of audio objects. Any sound can be mixed as a single audio element, an object, that's independently placed in three-dimensional space. A child shouting, a helicopter lifting 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 focus 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 within a scene, and the system intelligently makes the speaker-assignment decisions. Audio objects originate and move anywhere in three-dimensional space, including anywhere overhead. You will experience a soundtrack as you would in a real-world environment.
Dolby Atmos supports up to 128 simultaneous audio objects. These include stationary sounds that are reproduced through all the speakers, such as a music background or ambient effects. Content mastered for home reproduction includes all the audio objects from the original film, placed in three-dimensional space, just as in the cinema.
Descriptive metadata accompanies every Dolby Atmos soundtrack, specifying the exact placement and movement of the audio objects. A Dolby Atmos powered AVR reads the metadata and determines how to use the speakers in your specific setup to best recreate this precise placement and movement.
Dolby Atmos is highly scalable. You can play a Dolby Atmos movie and get the spatial effects on nearly any speaker configuration in a home Dolby Atmos system, and adding speakers increases the precision of the audio placement. You can have up to 24 speakers on the floor and 10 overhead.
The technology also enables overhead sounds that enhance realism and make the sound more expansive. Overhead sounds can be produced by either overhead speakers or special Dolby Atmos enabled speakers that fire sound up to the ceiling, where it is reflected back down as overhead sound.
Other home theater audio technologies, even those that add height information, still rely on channels and do not create audio objects. No matter how many channels they use, they cannot duplicate the free movement of sounds that gives Dolby Atmos its unique realism.
You'll find a growing number of Dolby Atmos movies on Blu-ray Disc or through streaming video services. As Hollywood increases the number of cinematic movies in Dolby Atmos, you'll see the list of home releases grow, too.
Dolby Atmos content plays through standard Blu-ray™ players and streaming media players connected to your AVR via HDMI® and with the bitstream output function engaged. The Dolby Atmos powered AVR manages all decoding, rendering, and processing.
Dolby Atmos discs and streaming feeds are backward compatible. Even if you don't have a Dolby Atmos setup, you can still play Dolby Atmos content and enjoy the same outstanding sound you've been getting from your stereo, 5.1, or 7.1 system.
Learn how to set up your speakers for the optimal Dolby Atmos home theater experience.
Dolby Atmos combines traditional home theater speaker layouts with additional speaker positions. These include either overhead speakers or new Dolby Atmos enabled speakers designed to reproduce the overhead audio objects. Alternatively, you can choose a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.
We designed Dolby Atmos to be backward compatible, so it will play on existing channel-based systems as well as new Dolby Atmos setups. And a connected TV or set-top box that is Dolby Atmos Compatible can pass a Dolby Atmos signal through to other devices—such as AVRs with Dolby Atmos technology—that can decode the signal. You'll always hear the optimum mix for your system, from stereo to 5.1 or 7.1.
If you already have a 5.1, 7.1, or greater surround sound system, you'll most likely be able to build on it. Because Dolby Atmos uses the same basic speaker layouts, you probably won't need to reconfigure your room.
Here's a brief overview of the equipment you'll need. For more comprehensive information, see the Home Theater Setup Guide and the Dolby Atmos Speaker Setup Guide. For equipment choices, check out the latest Dolby Atmos Home Theater Products, and watch for announcements throughout the year.
A Blu-ray Player or Streaming Player
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:
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). Be sure your player supports this version.
A Dolby Atmos AVR
You'll need an AVR or a preamp/processor that supports Dolby Atmos. This handles all of the necessary signal processing and rendering. You'll find a growing selection from leading AVR and component manufacturers.
Overhead sound is an integral part of Dolby Atmos. Adding this capability to your home theater system is key to your moving audio experience. You have two options for overhead sound:
Overhead speakers. For the best sound, look for full-range speakers with wide dispersion characteristics, plus timbre and power matched to your primary speakers.
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 recreation of overhead sound. Dolby Atmos enabled speakers come in two versions:
Dolby Atmos enabled speakers are designed to work best in rooms with ceilings that are from 2.3 to 4.3 meters (7.5 to 14 feet) in height and that have acoustically reflective surfaces, such as drywall or plaster.
A Dolby Atmos enabled HTIB will include the receiver, sometimes a Blu-ray player, a matched set of speakers, and all necessary wires. Usually it's all packaged in a single box, hence the name. An HTIB may be an ideal choice for a small room.
A Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar is the simplest path to the Dolby Atmos experience. The sound bar contains all the Dolby Atmos processing, amplification, and direct- and upward-firing speakers. Setup involves only a single-wire connection to your TV and single-wire or Wi-Fi connections to your program sources (set-top box, media streamer, Blu-ray player.)
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 overhead or Dolby Atmos enabled speakers.
You will need at least two speakers, either overhead or Dolby Atmos enabled, that can generate overhead sound and objects. For the best experience of Dolby Atmos, we recommend four speakers.
The AVR automatically optimizes the Dolby Atmos playback for your speaker complement and layout. Again, see the Dolby Atmos Speaker Setup Guide for comprehensive information and diagrams.
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