Apple TV and Fire TV users can finally listen to YouTube TV in 5.1 surround sound

(Image credit: Google)

Google has finally expanded support for Dolby 5.1 surround sound on YouTube TV to Apple TV and Fire TV devices after initially announcing the feature in June 2021.

When Google first unveiled multi-channel audio functionality as part of the announcement of its 4K Plus add-on tier, it was limited to Google TV and Roku platforms. At the time, the company pledged to roll it out eventually to Apple TV, Fire TV and gaming consoles.

It has finally made good on its promise (or at least two-thirds of it). YouTube TV subscribers can now automatically enjoy surround sound when streaming 5.1 content on a compatible device and, of course, with an appropriate speaker system.

To confirm if 5.1 audio is available on a video, users can head to YouTube TV's 'Stats for nerds' display by selecting 'More' in Player Controls and then clicking on the bug icon. Confirmation of AC-3/EAC-3 codecs will be displayed if the content supports surround sound.

YouTube TV has a list of surround-sound compatible products on its website, though Apple TV has yet to be added. It includes Samsung, LG  and Vizio TVs with Cobalt 20 or above, traditional Chromecasts, Android TV, Google TV, Roku, Fire TV Stick 4K Max, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick Lite, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick 4K, and Fire TV Stick with 4K Ultra HD.


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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.