Netflix hosts movies and shows in countless genres, languages, and styles. With such vast options, the platform has quickly become one of the most popular streaming services in the world. So it’s no wonder why so many people are looking for ways to enhance the Netflix viewing experience further. The best way to do this is by enabling Dolby Atmos surround sound. But can you play Atmos on Netflix?
Netflix has plenty of Dolby Atmos movies and TV shows for users to stream. However, to enjoy Atmos sound, you need to ensure that you are using compatible devices, that you have the correct subscription plan, and that you’ve set the streaming quality to either ‘High’ or ‘Auto’.
In this article, we will discuss how to properly stream Dolby Atmos content on Netflix. In addition, we will review the various device requirements that you need to check before you start streaming your favorite Netflix content with incredible surround sound audio. Does Netflix Have Dolby Atmos?
What You Will Need to Get Dolby Atmos Content on Netflix
Yes, Netflix has a huge library of content featuring Dolby Atmos sound. However, there are a few things you’ll need to transmit the signal successfully between your devices, including the following:
The Right Subscription Plan
Netflix hosts a few different subscription plans for its users. You’ll need the Premium subscription plan which gives you access to Dolby Atmos and Ultra HD (4K) content.
Dolby Atmos-Compatible Devices
Whether you are using a streaming device to browse content from Netflix or your smart TV, these devices must support Dolby Atmos sound.
The same goes for your speakers or soundbar system. There are specific models of soundbars and audio systems that can process Atmos signals, such as the Samsung HW-Q600A (on Amazon).
Note: If you connect a streaming device, such as an Amazon Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, Apple TV, etc. directly to an A/V receiver or soundbar, then the TV’s support for Atmos does not matter.
Proper Device Settings
Making sure the device settings are correct for Dolby Atmos audio can be slightly confusing. The specific settings will vary greatly depending on the TV, soundbar, receiver, and media device.
Fortunately, modern devices will typically enable Dolby Atmos audio automatically as long as every device supports Atmos. But there are some scenarios where you will need to manually enable Dolby Atmos audio through the TV and/or media device.
How Do I Get Dolby Atmos Working on Netflix?
It may not be equivalent to the experience in a cinema, but you can get pretty great sound quality right in your living room after adding Dolby Atmos support to your home entertainment system.
And what could be a better weekend plan than relaxing at home while watching your favorite movies on Netflix with amazing surround sound effects?
In order to do that, the configuration must be done properly. Otherwise, you may not be getting the most from your latest gear and devices.
For starters, you must make sure that Dolby Atmos is compatible with all devices involved in your setup. Let us break that requirement down for more clarity.
Dolby Atmos A/V Receiver or Soundbar
Undoubtedly, you must get a soundbar or audio system that can process Atmos signals to provide a 3D sound experience. Whether you use an AV receiver with speakers or a soundbar, the device must have the ability to process the Dolby Digital Plus or Dolby TrueHD audio codecs.
The best way to find out if a product is compatible with Dolby Atmos is to look at its packaging. Almost every manufacturer that supports Atmos mentions it explicitly on their products.
There are soundbars that are very convenient to install. There’s no need to drill into your walls, run cables, etc; all you need is the soundbar and the subwoofer to get you the sound effects that you desire.
For instance, popular companies like Sony allow users to ditch the hefty installation steps for a hassle-free experience with products like the Samsung HW-Q600A (on Amazon).
Those wanting to further enhance the sound quality of soundbars (which probably isn’t necessary) can add extra speakers too.
That said, there are different varieties of home theater systems out there, and the configuration of Atmos signals varies depending on which sound system you choose.
There are a few different options for Atmos-enabled sound systems:
- Upward firing speakers inside of a soundbar that use the ceiling to bounce off the sound signals and create an enveloping sound effect. (Most common nowadays)
- Floor or tower speakers with upward-firing speakers as well as front-firing speakers.
- In-ceiling Speakers (typically placed directly over the main seating area).
- Speakers placed at the back of the room to bounce sound off from above and create a multi-speaker home theater system.
TV Using HDMI ARC/eARC (Depends)
It goes without saying that your TV must support the Atmos sound technology. Once you confirm this, connect the soundbar/receiver to your TV using the HDMI ARC port on both devices. Alternatively, you can also use the HDMI eARC port, if available.
The major difference between these two options is the way they transmit the Atmos signal between devices. HDMI ARC supports Atmos in Dolby Digital Plus, which is a lossy compression technique. This means that once the sound file is decoded at the receiver or soundbar, some of the audio quality is lost.
While this doesn’t make a huge difference, the lossless technique offered by an HDMI eARC port provides a far better sound experience. HDMI eARC supports up to Dolby TrueHD, while ARC can only support up to Dolby Digital Plus.
The TrueHD audio codec is a lossless format that does not lose any significant amount of data after it’s decoded.
There’s a pretty substantial difference between Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus. Though, because Netflix can only output 4K video with Dolby Atmos (via Dolby Digital Plus), the difference doesn’t really matter in this scenario.
Media Player (Fire TV, Nvidia Shield TV, Apple TV, TV Smart App, etc.)
What you also need to check is support for Atmos signals on the media player that you’re using. While almost all of the streaming devices, such as Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, and so on, support this sound format, they might not support Atmos on all of the streaming apps.
Some may provide Atmos content through Netflix and Prime while others only support Prime, for example. To find an exact list of the options is a little overwhelming. So, whatever media player you use, plug it in, and open the Netflix app to confirm support for 3D surround sound.
Pull up the details of your favorite movies or shows to check for the Atmos logo. The content supporting this sound format will flaunt it in the description itself.
Finally, we’ve got to consider the Atmos content. With Netflix, you can watch many movies and shows that will allow you to experience 3D sound. To check specifically which content offers Atmos sound, you can refer to this list.