Does a Dolby Atmos Soundbar only work over eARC (2.1 HDMI)?

Discussion in 'Soundbars, Soundplates & Soundbases' started by psychopomp1, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. psychopomp1

    psychopomp1
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    Hi,
    For those of you using a Dolby Atmos soundbar/speakers with your TV, do you only get Dolby Atmos quality when connected using eARC HDMI 2.1?
    Cheers
     
  2. philipb

    philipb
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    No, which is just as well since e-arc is only just beginning to appear. ARC gives lossy atmos, whilst e-arc will give the full fat variety
     
  3. psychopomp1

    psychopomp1
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    Thanks. A bit of a dumb question perhaps, but can you get proper/full fat Dolby Atmos through a non-HDMI connection from your TV or is eARC the only way way? Reason for asking is that I'm considering buying Sony's latest budget sound bar - the HT-XF8500 - which supports Dolby Atmos through eARC. However my TV (2018 Sony XF8096) just has HDMI ARC so I'm weighing up the possibility if I can ever get proper (full fat) Dolby Atmos using that setup. I guess it mainly depends if my Sony TV's ARC port can be upgraded to eARC through a firmware update or not.
     
  4. dante01

    dante01
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    Atmos metadata can be packaged in 3 forms:

    Dolby Atmos in Dolby Digital Plus (DD+)
    Dolby Digital Plus has been updated and features a new decoder capable of processing content encoded for Dolby Atmos. This module uses new bitstream metadata to extract Dolby Atmos object-based audio and outputs this information for further signal processing. The sampling rate for Dolby Atmos content is 48 kHz, the same sample rate as for Dolby Digital Pluscontent.

    Both new audio decoders are designed to be fully backward compatible with legacy channel-based Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD soundtracks.


    Dolby Atmos in Dolby TrueHD
    Dolby has expanded the Dolby TrueHD format to allow the format to support Dolby Atmos content on Blu-ray and ultra high definition Blu-ray Disc. Prior to Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD provided lossless support for channel-based audio, such as 5.1 and 7.1. Now we have added a fourth substream for Dolby Atmos sound in Dolby TrueHD codec to enable a support for a losslessly encoded object-based sound mix.

    Dolby Atmos in Dolby TrueHD is transmitted from a Blu-ray player or Ultra HD Blu-ray player to your AVR via an HDMI connection. If your AVR supports Dolby Atmos, the Dolby TrueHD object-based audio and related metadata will be decoded, processed, scaled, and rendered to your specific speaker configuration. Dolby Atmos audio can be encoded with Dolby TrueHD at multiple sampling rates (including 48 and 96 kHz) and bit depths (16- and 24-bit).

    Dolby Atmos enabled receivers will also support legacy Dolby TrueHD bitstreams at multiple sampling rates (including 48, 96, and 192 kHz) and bit depths (16-, 20-, and 24-bit) to provide full backward compatibility with legacy Blu-ray Disc media and Dolby TrueHD music files.


    Dolby Atmos in Dolby MAT
    The Dolby Metadata-enhanced Audio Transmission (Dolby MAT) encoder resides in a Blu-ray player to pack the variable bit-rate Dolby TrueHD bitstreams for transmission over the fixed bit-rate HDMI connections. A MAT decoder is subsequently employed in an AVR to unpack the Dolby TrueHD bitstreams. With the introduction of Dolby Atmos, we have expanded this technology to support encoding of Dolby Atmos content as lossless pulse-code modulation (PCM) audio.

    A key benefit of Dolby MAT 2.0 is that Dolby Atmos object-based audio can be live encoded and transmitted from a source device with limited latency and processing complexity. Among the possible sources are broadcast set-top boxes, PCs, and game consoles. The Dolby MAT 2.0 decoder in an AVR outputs the object-based audio and its metadata for further processing. The Dolby MAT 2.0 container is scalable and leverages the full potential of the HDMI audio pipeline.



    The latter 2 options can only be conveyed via HDMI or by using eARC. Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) can hoever be conveyed via conventional ARC predating eARC with the inclusion of Atmos metadata.

    If your TV has access to streaming services or apps that include content that may be encoded with DD+ Atmos encoded audio then you should be able to bitstream the DD+ audio to an Atmos enabled AV receiver or soundbar using conventional ARC. Note that not all TVs include a version of Netflix able to access Atmos though so the TV's own apps and capabilities are as important as the ability of ARC to convey DD+ when it comes to whether or not you'd be able to access Atmos via a TV. Only the most recent Sony models include the ability to access Atmos via Netflix.

    Also note that both the TV and the soundbar would require eARC compliance if wanting to exploit the additional capabilities associated with eARC. Older TVs will not be eARC enabled so you'd be limited to conventional ARC as opposed to being able to use the eARC abilities of a new sunbar or AV receiver.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019

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