What you need to know
- YouTube TV finally picks up support for 5.1 surround sound on Google TV, Android TV, and Roku devices.
- However, not all live TV channels support 5.1 surround sound and you'll need a compatible speaker system.
- Support for this immersive sound experience has yet to arrive for YouTube TV on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and game consoles.
YouTube TV is finally rolling out 5.1 audio support across Google TV, Android TV, and Roku devices this week, the service announced on Twitter. This comes nearly a year after Google announced the immersive sound experience for YouTube TV subscribers.
While the feature is long overdue, it should be available on Google's live TV streaming service across many of the best streaming devices, such as the Chromecast with Google TV. Google first introduced 5.1 Dolby Audio support for YouTube TV in June of last year, but it was limited to smart TVs from Samsung, LG, and Vizio, as well as traditional Chromecast dongles.
The latest announcement means you'll be able to watch content from YouTube TV on your streaming device while enjoying immersive sound. However, you'll need a compatible speaker system and the program you’re watching should support 5.1 audio.
Assuming you have a 5.1 audio-enabled hardware setup, the feature should automatically turn on whenever it’s available for the program you’re watching.
YouTube TV's support page provides a method for checking whether a program supports 5.1 surround sound. Play a video in the YouTube TV app on your smart TV. After that, go to the player controls and select "More," then select the bug icon, and "Stats for nerds" will appear on top of the video playback. AC-3/EAC-3 should be listed in the Codecs section, indicating that 5.1 is available for the program you're watching.
It bears repeating that not everything you watch on YouTube TV is available with 5.1 surround sound.
Google also plans to roll out 5.1 audio on other platforms, including Apple TV, Fire TV, PS5/PS4, and Xbox. There's no word on when this will happen, but Google is collaborating with partners to make this feature available on their platforms.
Because of its low price, support for the best apps, and easy content discovery with the new Google TV interface, Chromecast with Google TV is one of the best streaming devices you can buy.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.