With Netflix embracing 4K and HDR programming, couch potatoes can already enjoy impressive cinema-style visuals from the comfort of their living room. But audio is every bit as important, which is why the on-demand video streaming company has revealed plans to support the Dolby Atmos surround sound format too.
First debuted back in 2012, Dolby Atmos is a premium spatial audio technology that flows and moves to serve up super-realistic 360-degree soundscapes to movie theaters globally. More importantly for Netflix, Dolby Atmos has also been adapted for home theater systems from the likes of Denon and Pioneer, while some TVs, soundbars, and headphones also support the format. Microsoft announced back in April that the Xbox One would now support Dolby Atmos audio, too, so long as you have a compatible home sound system.
Only one Netflix title will support Dolby Atmos initially — Okja, a South Korean action film which lands on Netflix today. But more titles will be added in the coming months, including Blame! (July 28) and Death Note (August 25), while Bright and Wheelman will be landing at some point later this year. Throw into the mix the fact that many of these titles will also stream in 4K and HDR, then home entertainment enthusiasts are in for something of a treat this year.
It’s also worth noting that Netflix will only support Dolby Atmos on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox One S for now, though this will be expanded later to include some 2017 LG OLED TVs — these won’t need an external Dolby Atmos-powered theater system.
While quite a few Blu-ray titles now support Dolby Atmos, video streaming services have been slow on the uptake — probably due to the high bandwidth required to carry the streams and the relatively low number of people who care enough about it to invest in the necessary equipment. Walmart’s Vudu streaming service has offered some Dolby Atmos titles since 2015, but Netflix’s decision to embrace Dolby Atmos will go some way toward pushing the Dolby Atmos standard internationally.