With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gift shopping, and planning your party schedule. If you want to entertain in sonic style this season, then let me tell you how to create the perfect holiday theatre system with Dolby Atmos.

What is Dolby Atmos?

In June 2012, the Dolby Atmos system started showing up in movie theatres, creating brand new 3D surround sound experiences for movie-goers. It wasn’t long before the new audio format was adapted for home use, enabling home theatre afficiandos to enjoy the superb object-based sound right in their living rooms.

How does Dolby Atmos work?

In movie theatres, the Dolby Atmos system places speakers overhead in the ceiling. However it is not just about having extra speakers blasting sound down from above. Atmos allows filmmakers to place and arrange different sound elements in 3D space.

When you have a 5.1 or 7.1 channel home theatre sound system, you create the illusion of 3D sound by pushing specific audio to rear speakers. We call this a “speaker-based system.” With Atmos, instead of pushing sound to a particular speaker, it’s pushed to a particular spot in 3D space. So, for example, if you are supposed to be hearing an explosion happening overhead, the sound engineering doesn’t pick which speaker the sound will emanate from, but instead a point is chosen in 3D space for the particular sound and the Atmos system adjusts the sounds automatically to ensure the audio comes from the appropriate room position.

How Does Atmos Work in Homes Without Ceiling Speakers?

For a home-based Dolby Atmos system, you can either opt for ceiling mounted speakers, or use Atmos-enabled speakers that point and actually bounce the sound off the ceiling to create that same 3D surround sound audio. For either setup, an A/V receiver that has an Atmos renderer must first calibrate the room to determine how to produce the optimum audio environment.

What Do I Need for a Dolby Atmos Home System?

To get the Dolby Atmos experience in your home living space, you’ll need to invest in an Atmos-enabled receiver with that renderer that calibrates the audio in your room, and can take the metadata found in supported movies, and pushe it to the ceiling mounted (or ceiling-pointed) speakers, as well as the other speakers in your setup. In addition to that Atmos receiver, you’ll also need at least two Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. Your Blu-ray and other media players also need to support the standard (and most new versions of devices do).

Dolby Atmos for the Holidays

Once you’ve got the hardware, and calibrated your entertainment space’s sound for optimum performance, you’ll be good to go to enjoy all your holiday favourites.

Although Atmos-enabled home content is still a bit of a new thing, there are still lots of films that are Atmos-mixed for you to enjoy, and many streaming services, such as Netflix, have indicated they also will be adding more Atmos content to their lineups in the future.

Would you like a Dolby Atmos home theatre system for the holidays? Take a look at the speakers, receivers, sound bars and all-in-one Atmos systems available right now at Best Buy.

Steven Hill
I am an award-winning writer, freelance journalist and blogger who is a self-confessed geek and tech lover. When not playing the latest video games or salivating over the newest gadgets, I enjoy cooking for my family, mountain biking or snowboarding the deep powder on Whistler Mountain.


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