In Edwin Abbott’s allegorical tale, Flatland, the reader is drawn into a world of inhabitants that live in only two dimensions. Front, back, left, right is all that exists. No up. No down. No Sky. No Ground. If we lived there, a traditional Surround Sound system would fit the bill perfectly. 

But in our world of three dimensions, we have height, and sounds happen above us, not just along one flat-plane of sound. 

Thankfully, we now have countless of movies, TVs shows, video games, TVs and sound bars that support Dolby Atmos®. This exciting audio format redefines what an immersive experience can be when enjoying your favorite entertainment. What follows is a simple explanation of what Dolby Atmos is, what it does, and why it should be a must-have on your home theater shopping list.

Surround Sound Basics

A traditional surround sound system seeks to reproduce what a traditional movie soundtrack offers: left and right speakers, a center (for vocals and on-screen action), various surround speakers and for your bass and those wall-shaking explosions, a subwoofer (that’s the “.1” in a “5.1” system).  The soundtrack of the movie sends audio to the channels throughout the room.  Vocals are mixed to the center, a jet zooming by is sent to the rears, and so on. 

Adding Another Dimension

Where Dolby Atmos improves things is that by-and-large, it doesn’t use “channels.” It places objects throughout the room. Think of a shell casing falling not in the “right-rear speaker”, but rather “6 feet behind the listener, and 4 feet off the wall.”

This distance-oriented approach to sound placement has an amazing effect on making the viewer feel like a character within their favorite movie. They are in the creepy hotel, they are part of the shootout, they are sitting in the passenger seat during the car-chase.

In addition to more precise object-based sound, Dolby Atmos has another trick up it’s sleeve that inhabitants of Flatland would kill for: height. In Top Gun, when the jets zoom overhead, the sound should, in part, come from above you.  Dolby Atmos can place sound to those speakers (a little more on that later), truly redefining immersive. It’s a truly audio integrated 360-degree experience.

What is a Dolby Atmos soundbar?
What is a Dolby Atmos soundbar?
Why TCL Loves Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos is technology that can be tailored to your needs and wants.  TCL was one of the first TV companies to offer a TV that could decode Dolby Atmos internally, as well as pass that audio to an external audio system. This means that all that data about all of those object-based sounds can be processed by select TVs to give a good soundstage with no external components (perhaps the simplest example of using the technology), or send the audio out via HDMI-ARC (or eARC on our newer TVs) to take advantage of the most sophisticated, dedicated, home theater systems.

Another great thing about Atmos, is that this audio is scalable to fit just about any room or budget!

Most recently, TCL has launched new sound bars to make movie and TV watching a better experience with Dolby Atmos. Our philosophy of wanting to provide joy and simplicity to our users’ lives through the thoughtful execution of technology is perfectly demonstrated in our new Alto 9+ Dolby Atmos sound bar. No wires throughout the room, no complicated setup, just plug it in and in moments you’ll be swept away in high-quality Atmos multi-dimensional audio. 

Several of our Alto sound bars utilize the data found in Dolby Atmos soundtracks to deliver a rich, immersive sound all from a self-contained sound bar (and wireless subwoofer, depending on the model). Features such as a dedicated center channel, virtualized vertical surrounds, and our exclusive RAY·DANZ technology mean, great sound and simple setup are not mutually exclusive.

I would also be remiss if I neglected to mention that Atmos isn’t just limited to movies. There are more and more video games that are coming out with incredible Dolby Atmos sound tracks! Getting immersed in a game has never been easier or more exciting!

Steven Spielberg once said, “I’ve always been of the belief that our ears lead our eyes to where the story lives.” Unlike the poor inhabitants of Flatland, TCL TVs and Sound Bars with Dolby Atmos allow you to take that journey like never before.