Apple TV 4K and Dolby Atmos Soundbar question...

cdtabman1

Standard Member
I have an Apple TV 4K which I use exclusively to watch all my TV. I hardly ever watch live programs, just streaming, so I don't have an aerial or dish.
I currently have a 10 year old HD TV which is fine but I would like to be able to utilise the 4k which the Apple TV is capable of showing, so am thinking of getting a 4k TV and Dolby Atmos Soundbar.
I watch a lot of TV with bluetooth headphones, so a lot of the time I won't need my soundbar to be on. My question is if the Soundbar is on standby, would the video pass through to the TV? I am planning on having an HDMI cable from the Apple TV 4K into the Dolby Atmos Soundbar, and another HDMI cable from the Soundbar to the TV. According to Apple that is the way to get Dolby Atmos. I use a Logitech Harmony remote, and would like to have an activity set up called "Headphones" which would just have the Apple TV 4K and the TV on. Would the video pass through the Soundbar if it's on standby. I don't really want to have to turn the Soundbar on and then have to turn the volume down. Any help would be appreciated before I launch in and get a Dolby Atmos Soundbar and 4k TV.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
The easiest/slickest path might be to get Apples new wireless earbuds which can do spatial audio (dolby atmos) so its simply a matter of selecting those within Apple eco-system and the ATV ignores the HDMI output for audio.

You can pair your current bluetooth headphones to the ATV but will only get stereo audio.

For the soundbar you can connect two ways
  • direct to the TV and use HDMI-ARC to pass audio to soundbar (DD+ Atmos will work this way).
  • direct to the soundbar HDMI input, its decodes the audio and passes video to the TV.

With the soundbar off the behaviour depends on the hardware
  • if using HDMI-ARC some TV's will stay on ARC selection and others will auto switch back to internal speakers.
  • if using direct to sound HDMI input turning off soundbar, some can still pass video/audio to TV but not all can do this (most high end ones should do it).

So it basically depends on what product you buy.

Logitech harmonys are also discontinued, many TV's and devices these days have HDMI-CEC built into which offers some degree of control and if using HDMI-ARC then CEC is often mandatory. If buying a new TV and soundbar you simply might find you have no need for the harmony depending on your use case.

Using an IR based Logitech Harmony can conflict with HDMI-CEC, its not impossible to use harmony and CEC just you might get unexpected behaviour, I used to program the harmony as a clone of the TV remote with some extras here and there when I used to still use it.

You can of course completely disable CEC and go back to pure IR control system relying on the Harmony for everything so long as it has compatible IR commands for the devices.
 

cdtabman1

Standard Member
Thanks, I will look into the Apple wireless earbuds.

I just saw this from Apple's website "Apple TV 4K uses a high bandwidth form of Dolby Atmos that doesn't work over ARC connections" so not sure if it will pass Atmos to the Soundbar if I connect to the TV. Thanks for the Soundbar info, looks like I will have to research more.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Thanks, I will look into the Apple wireless earbuds.

I just saw this from Apple's website "Apple TV 4K uses a high bandwidth form of Dolby Atmos that doesn't work over ARC connections" so not sure if it will pass Atmos to the Soundbar if I connect to the TV. Thanks for the Soundbar info, looks like I will have to research more.

The ATV supports Dolby Digital Plus Atmos that is whats used by the streaming services and works over HDMI-ARC.

What the ATV can optionally do is Dolby MAT which is multi-channel PCM + Atmos but only via eARC or HDMI input on sound systems, that might be what Apple are referring to but it 100% does DD+ Atmos over ARC.
 
D

Deleted member 433786

Guest
The ATV supports Dolby Digital Plus Atmos that is whats used by the streaming services and works over HDMI-ARC.

What the ATV can optionally do is Dolby MAT which is multi-channel PCM + Atmos but only via eARC or HDMI input on sound systems, that might be what Apple are referring to but it 100% does DD+ Atmos over ARC.

Hi mate

ATV only outputs atmos as MAT, what happened in the past though is there are some TV's (notably LG) which had an onboard MAT decoder, they could then repackage it pack into DD+ and send over ARC

The Apple TV will either send as multichannel PCM (including atmos) or transcode into normal DD, It will not send DD+ in any form.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Hi mate

ATV only outputs atmos as MAT, what happened in the past though is there are some TV's (notably LG) which had an onboard MAT decoder, they could then repackage it pack into DD+ and send over ARC

The Apple TV will either send as multichannel PCM (including atmos) or transcode into normal DD, It will not send DD+ in any form.

Just wondering are there TV's that support DD+ Atmos over ARC but dont have a MAT decoder ?

So ATV would only send DD with such products or do all Atmos TV's have MAT decoder.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 433786

Guest
Just wondering are there TV's that support DD+ Atmos over ARC but dont have a MAT decoder ?

So ATV would only send DD with such products or do all Atmos TV's have MAT decoder.

Yes there is loads, Both my Samsung and Sony sets support DD+ atmos over ARC, neither have EARC, they cannot decode MAT. It was mainly the LG oleds (2017,2018) which had this unique functionality, probably a by product of this


The Xbox also used MAT.

I guess with EARC becoming more prominent is making it a none issue.

If the TV lacks EARC and the ATV is plugged in direct then you have the option of PCM, which would only be stereo or going into the ATV audio options and set it to send everything as normal DD (no atmos).
 

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