Don’t let their size fool you. From movies and TV to music and gaming, soundbars enabled with Dolby Atmos immerse you in your favorite entertainment.

Streaming service
Content mixed in Dolby Atmos

Buyer's Guide

Everything you need to know about Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbars

If you’re in the market for a soundbar you’ve come to the right spot. We’ll explain what a soundbar is and break down different types of soundbars.

What is a soundbar enabled with Dolby Atmos and why is it better than a regular soundbar?

Soundbars are made up of multiple loudspeakers housed in a long, wide enclosure and are commonly used with your TV or home entertainment system. Instead of buying larger home theater systems to supplement TV audio, soundbars are useful because they take up less space and are generally less expensive.

Through the creative placement of individual sounds, Dolby Atmos adapts cinema-inspired immersive sound to your living room to create powerful, moving audio. Each individual sound is more nuanced and realistic for a richer and fuller immersive experience. Sound comes from all directions, including overhead, to fill the room with astonishing sound clarity, richness, detail, and depth. When these sounds are placed and moved in space, your entertainment comes to life above and all around you.

Unlike a standard stereo soundbar, a soundbar enabled with Dolby Atmos uses cinema-inspired technology to transform your room into an amazing place for entertainment and make you feel like you’re inside the story.

The importance of immersive sound

In real life sounds come from all around us, including overhead. Having the ability to recreate overhead sounds is a key element in making Dolby Atmos sound so realistic. If we see a helicopter take off onscreen and then hear its blades cutting through the air above our heads, the experience makes us feel like we’re really in the scene, not just watching it.

When used in the cinema, Dolby Atmos recreates these overhead sounds with an array of overhead speakers above the audience. But this is impractical in most home entertainment environments. When it comes to soundbars enabled with Dolby Atmos, there are two different approaches to delivering height effects. These different approaches yield a variety of product options and prices points for consumers.

Upward-firing soundbars vs. soundbars with height virtualization

Generally speaking, there are two different types of soundbars enabled with Dolby Atmos: those with upward-firing speakers and those that use height virtualization.


Some soundbars with Dolby Atmos technology use upward-firing speakers. This means that sound is projected to the ceiling, then reflects back down on you to provide a full experience of lifelike sound overhead and around you.

Soundbars with upward-firing speakers will deliver the most natural, true-to-life sounds emanating from above and all around when a room has a flat, non-vaulted ceiling as high as 14 feet (4.3 meters), and with a clear audio path from the top of the soundbar to the ceiling.


Height virtualization

The second type of soundbar enabled with Dolby Atmos is one that does not have upward-firing drivers, but instead uses height virtualization to reproduce the effect of Dolby Atmos sound placement and movement above and around you for sound that is more expansive, even in smaller rooms.

Based on extensive Dolby research into how we perceive sound, Dolby Atmos height virtualization applies carefully designed filters to individual sounds that come from overhead. These filters simulate sounds arriving from overhead, to give you a more immersive and expansive experience.

Dolby Atmos soundbars which utilize height virtualization allow for more flexibility in room environment since it doesn’t rely on ceiling reflections to deliver the Dolby Atmos experience.