If you’re an Apple TV 4K owner with a pair of AirPods that support Spatial Audio, and a Disney+ subscription, then the latest free update to Disney’s app is a great bonus: you now get full Dolby Atmos support when watching in Spatial Audio.
However, if you’ve got an Android TV or Google TV – including Sony, TCL and Hisense models, plus Nvidia Shield devices – then a recent update had the opposite effect: for many users, Dolby Atmos support seems to have disappeared.
Both of these updates were spotted by FlatpanelsHD (opens in new tab) as users shared their stories of Android agony – and AirPods ecstasy – online.
The good news for Android and Google TV users is that many people have already spotted the issue resolving itself, presumably with a server-side fix, which means no new version of the app is required. For a lot of people, Dolby Atmos might be back by the time you try it, so no harm done – but if you find that the sound from your Dolby Atmos soundbar is suddenly feeling a bit flat and you’re using the app on your Google-powered TV, this is probably why.
So what’s this Apple TV upgrade about?
The upgrade for Apple TV users is relatively subtle, but is still something very welcome. Until now, when you listened to movies on Disney+ with AirPods 3rd Gen, AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, you were getting Spatial Audio, but only with a boring old Dolby 5.1 surround-sound mix, even though the Disney+ app supports Dolby Atmos.
This update means that you’ll get full Dolby Atmos object-based audio support, with FlatpanelsHD confirming a 16-channel output. You’ll get much more precise positioning of sounds in space around you when using the head-tracking Spatial Audio, including with height channels.
If you’ve never tried Spatial Audio on headphones for Dolby Atmos movies, we can’t recommend it enough. It feels like being in a full-on movie theater multi-speaker setup, and you can really crank up the volume… but no else will hear it, obviously. If you want the full cinematic experience after the kids have gone to sleep, there’s no better way to do it than an Apple TV 4K, a Dolby Atmos movie, and a pair of AirPods with Spatial Audio support.
And no one has to know that the movie you chose to experience all this was Moana. Until you start singing along, at least.