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Disney+ update brings Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio to Apple TV 4K

Disney Plus
(Image credit: Disney)

Disney Plus has released a new update of its app for Apple TV 4K that supports Dolby Atmos with Spatial Audio with AirPods headphones.

Previously, Airpods users watching Disney Plus content were limited to 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus audio on Apple TV 4K, despite the streaming service supporting Dolby Atmos on other devices. However, the app's most recent version (2.9.5), released last week, can now handle Dolby Atmos for Airpods Pro, AirPods Max and AirPods 3 headphones, with Apple's proprietary Spatial Audio processing. The update also enables Dolby Atmos support on the original Apple HomePod speaker.

Similar to Dolby Atmos for Headphones and Sony 360 Reality Audio, Apple's Spatial Audio takes 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos signals and applies directional audio filters. These filters adjust the frequencies that each ear hears so sounds are placed virtually anywhere in 3D space.

Uniquely, Apple’s Spatial Audio processing doesn't only provide virtualised surround and Atmos sound; it can also track your head movement using the accelerometers and gyroscopes in the AirPods to position the sound accurately as you move.

Meanwhile, another new Disney Plus update, this time for Android TV, has been less successful, with users initially reporting (opens in new tab)a total loss of Atmos support after installing version 2.9.1 on a range of devices, including Sony Bravia and TCL TVs. Though, as of yesterday (26th July), the issue appears to have been widely resolved without needing an additional software fix.

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Mary is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and has over a decade of experience working as a sound engineer mixing live events, music and theatre. Her mixing credits include productions at The National Theatre and in the West End, as well as original musicals composed by Mark Knopfler, Tori Amos, Guy Chambers, Howard Goodall and Dan Gillespie Sells.