How To Get Dolby Atmos on Apple TV 4k

Want to know how to get Atmos on Apple TV? Apple TV and the Apple TV+ streaming plan offer many TV series and movies with Dolby Atmos immersive audio. Apple TV 4k, since launching, has always ranked as one of the best, if not the best, streaming media player in its class. The player also supports 4k resolution, Dolby Vision, and HDR10 High Dynamic Range for optimal picture quality. In addition to select titles purchased or rented from the iTunes platform, most Apple Studios original movies and series offer Atmos.

Did you know Amazon sells Apple TV streaming media players?

What Is Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is an object-based audio format that brings immersive sound effects to movies that would otherwise play in 7.1, 5.1, or 2.1 channels. Mainly, Atmos brings a height element to audio environments in which sound is played from above with ceiling-mounted speakers or bounced off the ceiling from an angled speaker (often found in sound bars). As a result, audio can be heard from the front, sides, overhead, and behind.

Obviously, Dolby Atmos in home theaters is a watered-down version of what you would experience in Atmos-enabled cinemas, but there is definitely a noticeable difference at home.

The audio format can be found on Blu-ray Discs, 4k Ultra HD Blu-rays, and digital movies and shows (both in 4k Ultra HD and HD resolution). Apple has one of the largest Dolby Atmos libraries, but you can also stream titles with Atmos from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, and Vudu. Here are some steps that should help you get Dolby Atmos playing on your audio system.

Dolby Atmos logo

How To Get Dolby Atmos

Purchase a Dolby Atmos Speaker System

To hear Dolby Atmos you need to have an audio system that supports it. This means your speaker system, soundbar, and/or AV receiver can all deliver Atmos. The product box and manual for your device should have the Dolby Atmos logo on it. Note: Most TVs do not have speaker systems that support Dolby Atmos audio although a few select do (see models on Amazon).

If setting up a true home theater system with multiple speakers it’s probably a good idea to start with a receiver that supports object-based audio. Good examples of receivers that support Atmos and DTS-X are the Onkyo TX-SR494, Marantz SR8015, and Denon AVR-S760H, all of which also support Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG HDR formats.

Then, if you don’t already have speakers decide on how many you will be setting up and what brand fits your style. Home theater systems typically have at least 5 channels, meaning five speakers, which is represented as 5.1 (the .1 is an optional subwoofer). More speakers can be added to create 7-channel, 9-channel, or even 11-channel layouts.

You can purchase multi-speaker surround system packages like the Klipsch Reference Series 5.2 Home Theater Pack, that will require an audio receiver that supports Dolby Atmos. Or, build your system piece-by-piece by adding speakers along the road (see home theater speakers on Amazon).

Soundbars like the Sony HT-A7000, and Samsung HW-Q600C are fairly easy to set up as there are only two speakers: the bar itself and a subwoofer for bass frequencies. However, soundbars may be expanded or purchased with additional rear speakers such as the Samsung SWA-9500S or Sony SA-RS3S wireless speaker kits.

Home theater audio systems can vary according to how many speakers are set up. Atmos systems are usually configured in one of three ways.

1. A soundbar with speakers that angle upward to bounce off ceilings
2. A multi-speaker system with back speakers that bounce sound off the ceiling
3. A multi-speaker system which has speakers installed in the ceiling

Connect Your HDMI Cables

First off, make sure you purchase at least 18Gbps HDMI cables for optimal video playback. Audiophiles looking for even higher-quality audio should consider faster HDMI cables.

Since most TVs do not support Atmos through their built-in speakers you will need to connect the Smart TV, streaming media player like Apple TV, or Blu-ray player to the HDMI input of a Dolby Atmos-supporting AV receiver or soundbar. Those devices must be able to support Atmos passthrough.

Most audio systems have more than one HDMI input which is ideal for having more than one playback device. For example, HDMI1 and HDMI 2 can be used to connect a streaming media player and 4k Blu-ray player. If you have more devices than the provided HDMI inputs consider getting an HDMI splitter to get all your devices connected to the sound device.

HDMI-Arc is the port you’ll want to use to have your TV re-route sound through the sound system. This ensures the TV audio (from cable, satellite, or over-the-air signal) plays through the sound system and not the TV. We should mention that because Apple TV 4k uses a high bandwidth form of Dolby Atmos it will not work using ARC connections. So, use a normal HDMI port to connect Apple TV 4k separately.

It should be noted there are some Dolby Atmos sound systems that don’t support HDR (Dolby Vision / HDR10 / HDR10+).

Set Up Apple TV 4k

This should be enabled by default, but your Apple TV needs to be configured to playback Dolby Atmos. Do this by going into the Settings > Video & Audio > Audio Format. Make sure Dolby Atmos is turned On. There may also be an Auto option that can be turned on so when Atmos is detected it will switch without hassle. Also, be sure your Apple TV is running the latest tvOS version.

Find a Dolby Atmos Movie, Series, or Special

Find a movie or TV series from Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Max, or Vudu that plays in Dolby Atmos. If a title supports Dolby Atmos a small logo should appear under the title. It should be to the right of the icon for Ultra HD resolution. Note that if a title does support Dolby Atmos it may not also show the icon for Dolby Vision.

Check Your Sound Bar or Receiver

Your soundbar or AV receiver should indicate when you are playing Dolby Atmos. For example, Samsung displays a blue light on the speaker when Atmos is enabled. Sony shows the label DAtmos or Dolby Atmos on the TV or device when pressing the Display button. If your audio device or speaker does not tell you it’s playing Atmos it probably isn’t.

Still No Atmos? Check the Movie Info.

With the Apple TV remote swipe down on the top touchpad and you should see more information about the title. Look for the Dolby Atmos logo that indicates the movie is formatted with Dolby Atmos. If it doesn’t say Atmos it likely does not play in Atmos.


We hope you are successful in getting Dolby Atmos to work with your Apple TV 4k. If you still have trouble you can always call the manufacturer of the audio system you are using for help. Look in the device manual or search online for troubleshooting questions and answers.

Shop: Dolby Atmos Sound Systems on Amazon
Also Read: How To Get Atmos Sound On Netflix