Your Dolby Atmos Home Theater Setup 

Dolby Atmos combines traditional home theater speaker layouts with additional speaker positions. These include either overhead speakers or new Dolby Atmos enabled speakers designed to reproduce the overhead audio objects. Alternatively, you can choose a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

We designed Dolby Atmos to be backward compatible, so it will play on existing channel-based systems as well as new Dolby Atmos setups. And a connected TV or set-top box that is Dolby Atmos Compatible can pass a Dolby Atmos signal through to other devices—such as AVRs with Dolby Atmos technology—that can decode the signal. You'll always hear the optimum mix for your system, from stereo to 5.1 or 7.1. 

If you already have a 5.1, 7.1, or greater surround sound system, you'll most likely be able to build on it. Because Dolby Atmos uses the same basic speaker layouts, you probably won't need to reconfigure your room. 

What You'll Need 

Content 

A Blu-ray Player or Streaming Player

Dolby Atmos content is delivered on Blu-ray Disc or through streaming video services. To play it back, you'll need any of the following equipment: 

  • Blu-ray player. Current and recent products that fully conform to the Blu-ray specification are advised. 
  • Streaming media player, or a Blu-ray player or game console with streaming ability. 
  • 4K Ultra HD Bluray Player
  • Microsoft Xbox One Slim

Whichever you choose, set the player to bitstream output and connect to the receiver via HDMI. (Be sure to also disengage the secondary audio feature on your Blu-ray player.) Dolby Atmos is compatible with the current HDMI® specification (v1.4 and later). Be sure your player supports this version. 

Playback 

A Dolby Atmos AVR

You'll need an AVR or a preamp/processor that supports Dolby Atmos. This handles all of the necessary signal processing and rendering. You'll find a growing selection from leading AVR and component manufacturers.

Speakers

Overhead sound is an integral part of Dolby Atmos. Adding this capability to your home theater system is key to your moving audio experience. You have two options for overhead sound: 

Overhead speakers. For the best sound, look for full-range speakers with wide dispersion characteristics, plus timbre and power matched to your primary speakers. 

New Dolby Atmos enabled speakers. This is the more practical alternative for most setups. Dolby Atmos enabled speakers are specially engineered to direct sound upward, where it reflects off the ceiling to produce an incredibly lifelike recreation of overhead sound. Dolby Atmos enabled speakers come in two versions: 

  • Integrated units that also include traditional forward-firing speakers. These replace your normal front and surround speakers. 
  • Add-on modules, containing only the upward-firing elements, that you can place on top of your current speakers or on a nearby surface. 

Dolby Atmos enabled speakers are designed to work best in rooms with ceilings that are from 2.3 to 4.3 meters (7.5 to 14 feet) in height and that have acoustically reflective surfaces, such as drywall or plaster. 

Basic Multi-Speaker Setup

Dolby Atmos home theaters can be built upon traditional 5.1 and 7.1 layouts. For Dolby Atmos, the nomenclature differs slightly: a 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos system is a traditional 7.1 layout with four overhead or Dolby Atmos enabled speakers. 

You will need at least two speakers, either overhead or Dolby Atmos enabled, that can generate overhead sound and objects. For the best experience of Dolby Atmos, we recommend four speakers. 

The AVR automatically optimizes the Dolby Atmos playback for your speaker complement and layout. Again, see the Dolby Atmos Speaker Setup Guide for comprehensive information and diagrams.