Tidal brings Dolby Atmos Music to Apple TV, Fire TV and Android TV streamers

Dolby's music format gives some tracks in Tidal's collection a surround boost.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
2 min read

Dolby says Tidal Hi-Fi subscribers can now stream Atmos Music via their compatible streaming boxes and Atmos sound systems for the first time. Dolby says the feature will roll out to devices from Thursday.

Until now immersive formats have only been available on phones and devices such as the  Amazon Echo Studio , so this may help with adoption of the Atmos Music format in the home. Like Sony's 360 Reality Audio, Dolby Atmos Music takes an established movie format and applies it to music streaming -- Jay-Z's streaming service Tidal is one of the places you can hear it. 

The compatible streamers include:

Tidal Hi-Fi subscribers can stream Dolby Atmos tracks from Universal and Warner Music artists such as The Weeknd, Ariana Grande and Blondie in immersive audio. Don't have a Tidal Hi-Fi subscription? In March the company announced new users can get four months of any Tidal tier, including Hi-Fi, for $4

Dolby Atmos is a surround format that features height channels and is typically played back on surround systems and some soundbars, but part of the appeal of the two competing formats is that they can be played on mobile phones. Other compatible Atmos devices include Android smartphones and tablets such as those from Samsung (Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, Galaxy Fold , Tab S5 and others), Huawei ( Mate 20 X , Mate 20 Pro , and others), Oppo (Reno Ace and others), the  Razer Phone 2  and Sony Xperia 1 and 5.

By comparison, Sony's 360 Reality Audio is supported by the Amazon Echo Studio and Denon's Heos system for subscribers of Amazon Music HD.

Dolby Atmos tracks on Tidal will be identified by a Dolby logo and a Dolby Atmos symbol appears when the song is selected. You can also find compatible tracks under the Explore tab on the Tidal app's homepage.

It's early days for immersive audio, and while surround music formats like DVD-Audio and Quadraphonic have failed in the past, both Dolby and Sony are confident that immersive formats will take off. Adding further devices like Apple TV and the Echo Studio may help with adoption, but mobile headphone use is still only simulated surround and may not work as well as dedicated systems.