Tidal adds Dolby Atmos support for numerous TVs and other devices


  • Technology
  • Saturday, 06 Jun 2020

The surround sound format Atmos was originally intended for film – but Dolby now wants to establish it for music as well. — Karolin Krämer/dpa

John over there, Ringo behind you, Paul to your left, George to your right. Listening to The Beatles and other bands on the Atmos sound format is said to offer more immersive experience of different elements in a song.

But until now, Dolby's 3D surround sound approach has been largely limited to TVs. Meanwhile on Tidal, the music streaming service bringing this format to pop music and other genres, it's only been available for Android smartphones.

Now, the music streaming service has significantly expanded the number of devices that support Dolby Atmos to bring the Beatles into your sitting room.

In future you'll be able to play songs via the Tidal app on the Apple TV 4K streaming box, on two models of Amazon's Fire TV stick, the Fire TV box and Nvidia's Shield TV streaming box, Dolby and Tidal announced late in May.

Some TV sets from Sony and Philips also support the new Tidal app, so that their owners can play the music via an Atmos soundbar, for example.

This update makes Atmos listening available to significantly more users, as it was previously only available on Android smartphones with Tidal or, alternatively, on the Echo Studio smart speaker using Amazon Music.

Atmos is a Dolby approach to both film and music where the sound waves are reflected along both the walls and the ceiling for a 3D listening experience. To make it work, special loudspeakers which can direct sound upwards are needed.

Several manufacturers also offer soundbars with Atmos. The format was originally used for movies – but Dolby also wants to establish it for music with surround sound.

But the songs have to be remixed to make it work, which is the case with a growing number of Tidal's catalogue. Songs from The Beatles, Coldplay and major new releases are part of a growing number of Atmos-ready titles in which the individual parts of a song appear to come from different places in your room.

However this superior listening experience comes with a price: At Tidal, it is only available in the most expensive subscription category at US$20 (RM85) a month. For anyone tempted to try it, Tidal has now doubled its free trial period to 60 days. – dpa

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