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June 28, 2017

Netflix now offers Dolby Atmos 3D sound, but there’s a catch

by John_A

Vudu is no longer the only streaming service that supports Dolby’s Atmos 3D sound technology.

Netflix does as well, with the launch of Bong Joon Ho’s Okja, a film that debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s now available on Netflix, and with Atmos support, it can specify where sounds emit from in a three-dimensional space, making the entire viewing experience much more immersive. For instance, when you see a car approach a character from behind, it’ll really sound like that to you.

Here’s how Netflix explained Dolby Atmos:

“Much like how 4K and HDR bring more stunning and realistic visuals to the screen, Dolby Atmos delivers captivating sound that places and moves audio anywhere in the room, including overhead, to bring entertainment to life all around you, all in the comfort of your own living room. Imagine being surrounded by the sounds of the scene you’re watching – an airplane passing overhead, or the subtlety of the wind rustling tree leaves all around you. Having the extra dimension of immersive audio is a game changer for experiencing the realism of a story”.

But there are a few caveats: right now, you can only experience Atmos if you stream Okja on a Microsoft Xbox One or Xbox One S, and you need an Atmos-enabled home theater system, TV, or soundbar. You could use headphones if you download the Dolby Access app from the Xbox Store. Netflix said support for LG’s OLED TVs is coming “soon”, as they come with built-in Atmos technology.

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Netflix is also lining up a bunch of upcoming releases with Atmos support. The film BLAME!, for instance, will be available on 28 July. The film Death Note, which will be added 25 August, will also support Atmos, as will Will Smith’s Bright, which will arrive in December. And finally, the last the movie, Wheelman, will support Atmos, though Netflix will probably add more titles over the next year.

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