In May 2020, Sonos, the audio company, announced its first Dolby Atmos soundbar, Arc. It came as a massive surprise because it was a replacement for the Sonos Playbar. So if you have an Arc, you’re enjoying audio evolution. But how do I know if Arc is playing Atmos? Let’s find out.
ARC is playing Atmos if you see the Dolby Atmos symbol:
- You’ll have to go to the Sonos S2 app
- Go to the ‘Now Playing’ Screen
- Look for Dolby Atmos on that screen
And voila, you’re playing Dolby Atmos.
Dolby Atmos is at the peak of audio technology at the moment. However, even if you have Arc, you’re not confident you’re even playing Dolby Atmos.
If you own the Arc soundbar or you’re a potential buyer, this article has the answers you’re seeking. So be sure to keep reading for more information on the Sonos Arc.
How Do I Know If ARC Is Playing Atmos?
Dolby Atmos is the most popular 3D audio format in the market. Fortunately, Sonos announced that Arc would have Dolby Atmos in late 2020.
It had some slight delay, but it arrived at people’s hands, and well, everyone was pretty much excited to get their hands on it.
They didn’t know about the Dolby Atmos club because it has its fair share of conditions that users have to meet.
Don’t panic; they’re not too complicated, and with a little bit more of your invested time and money, you can achieve that 3D audio experience.
Another great thing about Arc is that it can play PCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos audio. So you’re in good hands. Even if it isn’t Dolby Atmos, you have the pick of the audio litter.
How Can You Get Atmos?
There are three ways you can get Dolby Atmos. For the majority of users, here’s how you can access it:
- Physical media (most of the time it’s a Blu-Ray disk)
- Streaming services (Apple TV, Prime Video, and Netflix, which offers Dolby Atmos at a specific subscription tier)
Here’s How You Can Tell If Your Arc Is Playing Atmos
Using Blu-Ray (physical media)
If you’re using a Blu-Ray disk, you want to ensure that your Blu-Ray player supports Atmos.
Physical media may seem a bit old, but it has the advantage of providing users with lossless 3D audio, which isn’t the case for the latter.
You can find the Dolby TrueHD logo on the player. So check your Blu-Ray player on whether it has that imbued on it. The same applies to Dolby Atmos; the Dolby Atmos logo should be on the Blu-Ray disk.
If you would like to counter-check whether Dolby Atmos is playing, go to your TV settings and click and check the audio settings.
If you think it’s not playing, you can check the settings to ‘uncompressed.’ If you don’t have that option, ensure that it’s not at PCM, and you should be fine.
The HDMI-ARC and HDMI-eARC
The next thing you need to confirm is whether you plugged your Arc into the HDMI-ARC or HDMI-eARC ports on your TV. In their setup process, Sonos states that to listen to Atmos, you need to plug in your Arc to the HDMI-ARC ports.
It’s the one thing you need to make sure you have correct and in place to listen to Dolby Atmos content. If it’s plugged in, the Arc will receive a signal and display that on the Sonos S2 app that you are playing Dolby Atmos on.
Here comes the downside to this point, if your TV is over two years old, it will not support HDMI eARC.
On the other hand, most TVs do support HDMI ARC, but if you notice that Dolby Atmos isn’t playing and you have eARC, the sad part is that you may need to upgrade from your TV.
One more thing you can confirm is the type of cable you’re using. It would be in your best interest to use a high-speed HDMI cable. The best part about it is that it has the words ‘high speed’ written on it. The more you know.
The Sonos S2 App
Next on the list is the Sonos S2 app. It’s the best way to confirm that you are playing Dolby Atmos. If you have the app, open it and check the Now Playing window. It should have Dolby Atmos specified on the bottom left of the screen.
If it isn’t there and you know it should be there, you have two options:
- Close the Now Playing window and open it again
- If the former doesn’t work, close the app and open it again. You should see Dolby Atmos on the Now Playing screen.
What’s The Conclusion?
If you can meet all these conditions, you can play Dolby Atmos content from your Arc. It may seem like a lot at first, but the end justifies the means. 3D spatial audio is a fantastic experience and worth the toss and tumble that comes with it.
Can You Get Atmos Through Arc?
Thanks to Sonos, Arc does with Dolby Atmos Support. As long as you ensure that you conduct the setup process correctly, you should be able to play Dolby Atmos from your TV.
How Do You Know If Your eARC Port Is Working?
If you can play Dolby Atmos content, there’s a high chance that the port is functional. On the other hand, if you can’t access Dolby Atmos content, you may need to change the cable or troubleshoot the port.
Does Netflix Use Dolby Atmos?
At a specific subscription tier, Netflix does offer Dolby Atmos support. You can say the same for other streaming platforms like Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, etc. You can confirm with your streaming provider on their Atmos accessibility.
- Chris Welch, Sonos announces the Arc, its first Dolby Atmos soundbar, The Verge, https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/6/21248430/sonos-arc-dolby-atmos-soundbar-announced-features-price-date Accessed October 27th, 2021.
- Sonos, Set up your Sonos Arc, Sonos, https://support.sonos.com/s/article/4842?language=en_US#:~:text=Listen%20to%20Dolby%20Atmos%20on,settings%20portion%20of%20our%20app. Accessed October 27th, 2021.
- Sonos, Listen to Dolby Atmos on Sonos, Sonos, https://support.sonos.com/s/article/4844?language=en_US Accessed October 27th, 2021.
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.