Soundbars have come a long way in recent years and we’re impressed with the technology and the level of immersion that comes out of them. As television and movies prioritize Dolby Atmos and streaming, we’re excited about all the new high-performance soundbars that can present this exciting new surround sound format. In this comparison, w...
2021 Best Movie Platforms to Experience Dolby Atmos
At Audio Advice, we watch a lot of movies and TV shows encoded in immersive object-based audio formats. Dolby Atmos, DTS & DTS:X have been big hits with collectors of Blu-ray discs.
However, it seems like more movies & TV shows are constantly coming to release on more and more subscription-based streaming platforms, so it is more likely you will encounter the Dolby Atmos format if you haven’t already. In fact, there are almost 500 feature films in Dolby Atmos and there’s a lot more original content available to stream in the format, right now.
If you are just getting started with Dolby Atmos, your favorite streaming platform is probably the most convenient way to experience movies & TV shows encoded in this cool surround-sound format.
However, streaming is not the only way you can experience Dolby Atmos. You will find it everywhere from your old stash of Blu-ray discs to newer Kaleidescape servers you can privately curate, and of course streaming apps like Disney+, Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, and Apple Plus. No matter how you get your content, Dolby Atmos is available on a wide variety of platforms & it appears to be poised to be the future of immersive object-based audio.
Best Dolby Atmos Sources for Movies
Since you spent the money to get a Dolby Atmos rig, you might need to spend a tiny bit more to really enjoy the content. Unless you have a very new 2020 model TV, it is unlikely to support Atmos through its apps and you are better off using an external box if this is the case. You will need a source compatible with Dolby Atmos — such as an Apple TV 4K, Roku Ultra, Nvidia Shield, Amazon Fire device, or a 4K HDR Smart TV. Some of the latest next-gen gaming consoles like XBOX Series X also do it — and that old trusty Bluray player you have lying around is still fully capable of playing back Dolby Atmos Bluray discs. Below, we list the best Atmos compatible devices, taking full advantage of this object-based audio format. In the next section, we will discuss the best movie platforms & streaming services packing the largest catalogs of Dolby Atmos movies, TV shows, & original content. Currently, our favorite Atmos hardware sources, offering the highest quality Dolby Atmos experiences are:
looks and sounds the best
XBOX Series X/S
as good as Nvidia Shield
Apple TV 4K
good, but not quite as good as Apple TV 4K, or Nvidia Shield devices
creme de la creme, bit-for-bit-perfect title copies — better picture & sound compared to 4K Bluray, but very pricey — designed for state-of-the-art home theaters
inexpensive uncompressed Dolby Atmos — but some cons to consider with physical spinning discs
*NOTE: during our testing, we could not get Netflix content to playback in Atmos using Amazon Fire TV devices. Interestingly, the content also did not show Atmos was playing at all as it does with the other hardware devices we mentioned. So, unfortunately, the Amazon Fire TV devices and environment are not as reliable, since they do not support Atmos on all of the apps that have Atmos like the other hardware sources we list.
We will update this page as more Atmos content and news is released — but, first, how do you find Dolby Atmos content?
How Do I Find Dolby Atmos Content?
So, now that you have chosen a hardware source or multiple sources, all you need is plenty of Dolby Atmos content to watch!
Usually, a quick google search is the best way to find a comprehensive list of all the great Dolby Atmos movies out right now. This is also a good way to find out which platforms are offering movies in Dolby Atmos.
However, googling every platform is a lot of work, so we gathered all of the best platforms offering the most Dolby Atmos encoded content — and then we assigned a rating to each one to offer you our final verdict based on the following criteria:
User-friendliness (when searching Atmos content)
Accuracy of Search Results
How Good The Platform Sounds
How To Know Your System Is Receiving a Dolby Atmos Feed
Almost all home theater receivers & soundbars capable of decoding & delivering Atmos have some kind of visual indication in their display to let you know you are actually getting the Dolby Atmos signal. Check your owner’s manual for your product to determine what this should look like on your hardware. If your soundbar or AVR does not have this feature, our guides to home theater receivers & our Best Dolby Atmos Soundbars comparison will help you explore what to look for.
Amazon Prime Video
Least reliable Dolby Atmos platform
If you type “Dolby Atmos” into the search field of Amazon Prime Video, 168 titles return at the time of writing this comparison — however, there was no indication any of 168 titles were in fact delivered in Atmos. We could only find one title that was Atmos, and the major drawback is we actually had to rent the movie in order to find out if it was in fact in Atmos or not. The only one we could find was the latest Jack Ryan series.
Since there is no logo or any other indication the content was Atmos, we rented the latest Avengers movie for $4 (which streams in Atmos on Disney Plus), but it did not cause the Dolby Atmos symbol to pop up as it did on Jack Ryan when we tested it in our award-winning home theater showrooms even though all of the Atmos channels were playing.
Audio Advice verdict
Overall, based on our in-house testing, Amazon Prime is not ready for prime-time when it comes to being a reliable provider of Atmos content.
Streaming Platform with the largest Dolby Atmos catalog
If you like renting or owning your Atmos content in the cloud, and you want a reliable way to experience it in true Dolby Atmos, then Vudu is definitely a pay-per-view streaming platform to check out. VUDU has one of the largest catalogs of Atmos content with more than 260 Dolby Atmos encoded movie titles to stream. As a pay-per-view service, you only pay for what you watch and it even provides some new releases weeks in advance before they become available on Blu-Ray, Netflix, Hulu, and Redbox.
Currently, there is no way to search for Atmos content from within the app. The app is well thought out, and well designed — it will show Atmos either in white (if it is present) or greyed out (if it is not), and when the movie starts playing, the app shows at the top of the screen so you know if you are getting the Atmos experience or not. You will need to rent the highest level HDR version to get Atmos sound.
Audio Advice verdict
As the platform with the most Atmos content, we think Vudu is the clear winner.
Runner-up for most trusted Dolby Atmos streaming platform
If you are a fan of Marvel Studios, Star Wars, National Geographic documentaries, and especially all those classic Disney cartoons & movies you may have grown up with as a kid, then Disney Plus will be a virtual playground for both grownups and kids, alike.
Similar to Vudu, the Disney Plus app currently does not let you search for Atmos content. However, almost all of Disney Plus’s original shows, like The Mandalorian, are delivered in Dolby Atmos. Just look for the Atmos logo on the content you want to watch. We also found just about any content that was identified as 4K was delivered in Atmos.
Audio Advice verdict
Overall, Disney Plus has a good selection of true Atmos content. It’s not as expansive as Vudu’s offering, but they are free to stream with a subscription — plus, access to all of the great Marvel action movies in Atmos from the Disney vault could be the biggest selling point for many people.
Largest provider of original Dolby Atmos content
When it comes to Atmos content, almost all of what you get is in the form of Netflix Originals and not Blockbuster films. You will need a Netflix Premium subscription plan for $17.99/month to get the immersive sound of Atmos above 5.1 channels from your Atmos-enabled surround sound system — but, if you do, you will also reap the benefits from the ultra-vivid 4K streaming picture of Dolby Vision plus up to four simultaneous streams.
The app is very well designed, and even lets you search for “Dolby Atmos,” which brings up almost 300 titles. Look for the Atmos logo on the content you want to watch. We did find one search result that said it was Atmos but really wasn’t.
Audio Advice verdict
Overall, even though original content makes up the majority of its catalog, Netflix still offers a pretty reliable selection of great Atmos content most viewers will care about.
Best platform for streaming blockbuster films at home
Typically, we see some titles coming to HBO Max in Dolby Atmos for a short time as a theatrical limited premiere showing. However, the list of new Atmos content being added to the platform as a permanent fixture is growing. Recently, the entire Matrix Trilogy was remastered in 4K and Dolby Atmos for HBO Max, so there may be some potential for this one to grow into a top provider of films a lot of people will want to experience in Atmos. However, there are only about 11 title movies available at the time of writing this comparison.
Currently, searching “Dolby Atmos” does not work. Search only gives back a few results, but none were Atmos. The HBO Max app does accurately show if the film is available in Atmos, however.
Audio Advice verdict
Overall, even though HBO Max currently offers only a small amount of Atmos content, we think it is really cool that you can watch new movies at home at the same time as they premiere in commercial theaters.
Apple TV Plus
Streaming platform with the most potential for expansion
Apple Plus has a really great selection of critically acclaimed Apple TV Originals plus hundreds of Hollywood blockbuster movies — just look for shows and movies with the Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos logos.
Similar to Netflix, much of what Apple Plus offers in Atmos is in the form of Apple’s exclusive original TV content. Searching the catalog for “Dolby Atmos” returns a decent list of Atmos content, but search results do not show all of what Apple offers in the format. Currently, Apple Plus has over 250 movies & TV shows in Atmos with more constantly being added as either Blockbuster films or Apple TV+ Original content and documentaries.
*Note: We also tried the Apple TV App on the Nvidia Shield and Roku Ultra and found Atmos to work just fine on these as well.
Audio Advice verdict
Overall, Apple Plus offers a very wide & reliable selection of great Dolby Atmos content most viewers will want to watch with a lot more to come.
Platform with the best selection of Dolby Atmos Blockbuster movies
Your trusty Bluray Player is still one of the best platforms to experience uncompressed Dolby Atmos movies. These days, Bluray Players are inexpensive, but they rely on a physical spinning disc that is prone to scratches to decode the uncompressed Atmos sound. This means there are some drawbacks to consider such as having to manually keep track of your movie collection and protecting your investment from loss or damage.
Redbox, however, lets you rent from a huge amount of movies in Atmos. You do have to go find a Redbox location and get the disc, but there are still a lot of locations and the selection of Atmos titles is pretty vast. Redbox does not show if the movie is in Atmos, but if you rent a movie on Bluray in 4K, it is likely in Atmos. You can search the Dolby site to find all of the Atmos movies currently available on Bluray.
As far as Dolby Atmos goes, some Sony Playstation gaming consoles & XBOX models also have built-in optical Bluray drives that will support 4K & Atmos, but not all of them. You will just want to make sure your gaming console model can play physical Bluray discs.
Audio Advice verdict
Redbox is the best option as it has a better picture quality and sound compared to streaming. Plus rentals are only $2 for Bluray and $2.50 for 4K Bluray with all of the latest movie titles.
The very best in Atmos sound & picture with bit-for-bit perfection
Now, if you are someone who appreciates having wide-open access to the highest quality picture & sound, then you may want to consider checking out the last one on our list. Kaleidescape is capable of giving you the very best in Atmos sound & picture — but it's not your typical mass market-friendly platform — and it’s not for everyone.
However, Kaleidescape has the unique advantage of offering the bit for bit reproduction of the original Dolby Atmos soundtrack — it also has the largest selection of Atmos blockbuster movie titles available.
Kaleidescape is a sophisticated movie purchasing and archival system designed for people with high-performance home theaters and for serious movie aficionados — so as we said, it is not going to be for everyone. But, if the idea of owning a collection of bit-perfect quality content excites you — delivered right to a personal movie server — exactly the way the director intended — then Kaleidescape will be a supreme, creme de la creme choice to consider.
It delivers even better picture and sound quality than 4K Bluray, and for this reason, it is the clear winner for its fantastic performance and Atmos sound quality.
Kaleidescape movies also have a sophisticated proprietary metadata system that allows their players to present the most personalized cinematic experience and it goes way beyond what most streaming platforms are capable of. Used by some of the most famous directors and movie producers in Hollywood, the Kaleidescape system will let you collect and curate a great library of films over the years that you can cross-reference for a personal treasury of cinematic history.
Audio Advice verdict
Kaleidescape has the unique advantage of offering the very best, bit-for-bit perfect copies and the largest selection of Dolby Atmos blockbuster movies. It offers better picture & sound compared to 4K Bluray — but it is very pricey and made only for people with state-of-the-art home theaters — so, it is not for everyone.
That concludes our take on the best platforms for watching Dolby Atmos movies and how to find them!
At Audio Advice, we build, design, and install personal home theater rooms in homes nationwide. As more movie platforms continue to offer more Atmos content, your Atmos home theater room, speaker system, or soundbar with up-firing speakers will be ready for the new standard of great audio — and this will increase the value of investing in a Dolby Atmos audio system — full room, if possible, and soundbar-based, if not.
If you have any questions on these platforms or how your home audio or home theater gear can be set up to take full advantage of all the cool 3D Atmos features coming to music streaming, just give us a call, chat with us on AudioAdvice.com, or stop into one of our award-winning showrooms.
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