Mission Impossible, Transformers, Kong: Skull Island, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Mad Max are amongst the first movies to be available in Dolby Atmos on iTunes. You need tvOS 12 on your Apple TV 4K to enjoy it.
Dolby Atmos on iTunes
Last fall, Apple iTunes launched 4K HDR. The company made headlines because it decided to upgrade users’ movie libraries to 4K HDR – or Dolby Vision – free of charge. The next step on the journey is Dolby Atmos, and once again your movies will be upgraded for free.
Dolby Atmos is – together with DTS:X – based on so-called object-based technology where audio sources are encoded as objects in a three-dimensional space rather than fixed channels. In addition, Dolby Atmos adds height dimensionality to the soundstage by adding overhead sounds. The audio format can improve the listening experience but you obviously need Atmos-compatible equipment.
Dolby Atmos will be made available all owners of Apple TV 4K with tvOS 12 this fall but you can start exploring right now by installing the free public beta of tvOS 12.
141 Dolby Atmos movies – and counting
Over the last couple of days, Apple iTunes has started rolling out Dolby Atmos across regions. As usual, the US version of iTunes has the most comprehensive selection. There is no way to get a complete overview in iTunes but if you are on tvOS 12 look for the small Atmos logo (seen above) on your Apple TV 4K when browsing iTunes. FlatpanelsHD has so far found 141 movies in Dolby Atmos. The selection spans from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Transformers: The Last Knight to LEGO Batman and The Emoji Movie.
- “tvOS 12 will take the cinematic experience of Apple TV 4K to the next level this fall with support for Dolby Atmos audio and new features to easily find popular shows and movies. Apple TV 4K already offers customers the largest collection of 4K HDR movies and this fall, iTunes will be the home to the largest collection of Dolby Atmos supported movies anywhere,” Tim Cook, Apple CEO, said earlier this month.
Apple is certainly not the first distributor to offer movies in Dolby Atmos but it wants to offer a wider selection than you can find anywhere else. The current selection is not enough to live up to that promise but iTunes probably has another month or two before tvOS 12 officially arrives. Most UHD Blu-ray discs come with object-based audio and the Walmart’s Vudu service also offer Dolby Atmos.
The difference between a Dolby Atmos soundtrack on UHD Blu-ray and iTunes, respectively, is that an UHD Blu-ray disc includes a lossless version (Dolby TrueHD) whereas iTunes offers Atmos compressed in Dolby Digital Plus.
Now that the roll-out has started, we can also confirm that Atmos will not be tied to 4K HDR on iTunes. There are already several movies in HD resolution that come with an Atmos soundtrack, including Warner Bros’ Gravity and Lionsgate’s Blair Witch. Unfortunately, Disney still appears to be holding out. Apple and Disney have not yet reached an agreement to sell 4K HDR versions of Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm titles on iTunes. At this time, it would appear that it extends to Dolby Atmos. Of course, things can change before tvOS 12 arrives.
Apple TV 4K will also support Netflix’s Atmos but it is not yet activated in the tvOS 12 beta. Vudu on the other hand already serves Atmos on Apple TV 4K.