Ever since its launch in 2020, Sony's next-generation PlayStation has been lacking an important audio feature; that is until now. As part of a new update rolling out to members of the PS5 beta testing programme, you can now enable Dolby Atmos specifically, whereas before you were only able to select Linear PCM and either Dolby or DTS Bitstream. It's worth noting here that the PS5 has always been capable of Dolby Atmos playback for 4K Blu-ray discs, however, this new update will allow for Dolby Atmos gaming.
So how is Sony implementing this? It's actually using the Tempest 3D Audio infrastructure already built into the PS5, which has thus far allowed for PS5 3D Audio via Sony's first-party Pulse 3D Wireless headset and any headphones you plug directly into the PS5 DualSense controller via a 3.5mm headphone jack. Now, your PS5 will be able to identify relevant audio sources like a Dolby Atmos soundbar or a home theatre speaker system, and the Tempest 3D AudioTech will render the audio for your device and begin outputting Dolby Atmos audio – this includes the addition of those glorious overhead height channels.
But how do you enable it? First of all, you'll need to ensure your PS5 is on the latest system software, and this is where we run into our first roadblock. Currently, this feature is only available to those using PS5 beta software, meaning you'll need to sign up for the beta programme; you can register for it here, but be warned that running pre-release software might compromise the stability of your console.
Once your PS5 is on the latest beta software version, you'll need to connect your PS5, TV and Dolby Atmos soundbar or speakers together via HDMI eARC. For the best experience, this of course requires at least two HDMI 2.1 sockets, one for the PS5 to run its full 4K/120Hz potential with VRR and ALLM enabled for the best performance, and one HDMI 2.1 eARC socket for your audio device.
Finally, boot up your PS5 and enable Dolby Atmos in system settings like this: Settings > Sound > Audio Output > Audio Format Priority, and then select Dolby Atmos in the drop-down menu. And now your PS5 should be able to decode Dolby Atmos for gaming.
Interestingly, Sony also references that "Media app providers", which we assume to be streaming app developers, will soon be able to implement Dolby Atmos into their apps, allowing for "another way to experience immersive audio in movies, TV shows, and more in the future". Sony makes it clear that this feature isn't available in the current PS5 beta build, but that it will be added in a future update. Could this mean Dolby Atmos support for the Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix apps on the PS5 in the near future? It certainly sounds like it.
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