I have this beautiful Home Theater… now how do I get the most out of it?

In 2020 we have see a boom in Home Theater Systems and Home Media Systems being installed into customers homes. With that and sprinkling in some Streaming Services, we get a lot of questions pertaining to, “What devices get me the best surround sound sound and video for what I have?” or, “Watched a movie last night, but didn’t get surround sound?”

Those are loaded questions and we would like to shine some light or at least a little bit of light on that topic.

As a movie buff myself and having a Home Theater with 4K Ultra HD and a 5.4.1 Dolby Atmos setup, my #1 suggestion would be a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player and load it up with an HDR movie with Dolby TrueHD/Dolby Atmos.

However, sometimes you just want to click and watch… so lets dive into this.

Below is a list of Streaming Services and their Supported Devices (As of April 12th, 2021):

Another popular Streaming Service is Hulu Plus.

  • Hulu Plus Audio Support:

    • Hulu Plus with 2.0 Stereo Audio
      • Hulu’s streaming library and Live TV programming automatically streams audio in 2.0 Stereo quality, however, some devices can also play select titles in 5.1 surround sound.
    • Hulu Plus with 5.1 Surround Sound
      • While Hulu’s collection of 5.1 supported devices and content continues to grow, not every show or movie has 5.1 available. Surround Sound badge on the details page of what you’re watching can help you identify when 5.1 is available.

surround sound

Here is an example of a movie on Hulu Plus that is in Dolby Digital 5.1:

Here is a movie on Hulu that is not in Dolby Digital 5.1 and only in 2.0 Stereo, you can see here that the 5.1 badge is missing:

  • Hulu Plus 4K Video Support:

    • While Hulu’s library of 4K Ultra HD supported content continues to grow, at this time it’s limited to a select list of programming, including most Hulu Originals. A 4K Ultra HD badge will appear on the details page of a TV show or movie, when 4K Ultra HD is available.

ultra hd

Summary on Devices and Services:

To get the best out of your streaming services in regards to 4K Ultra HD with HDR and Dolby Atmos, I recommend getting either Roku Ultra (2020) or if you live in the Apple environment, get the Apple TV 4K and make sure its running tvOS 12 or higher.