YouTube TV streams Dolby 5.1 surround sound to Apple TV and Fire TV

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After launching the YouTube TV surround sound feature for Google and Roku TV devices in June, Google is finally adding the feature for its cord-cutting audience. using Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV platforms. The company had promised to eventually release the enhanced audio streaming capability for these platforms, saying it was “always works internally and with partners.”

Google originally announced plans to add 5.1 surround sound capability for YouTube TV last year, coinciding with the launch of a 4K Plus plan which includes higher quality video and the ability to play recordings offline. At the time, Google promised that Dolby 5.1 surround features would be available to all subscribers (Plus plan or not) in the “next few weeks”, but it certainly took longer than expected. In February, YouTube product manager Neal Mohan confirmed on The Vergecast that the feature would be coming soon.

Not all channels support surround sound, but you can check if a stream has it by going to the Statistics for nerd menu under player controls, clicking Afterthen selecting the bug icon. In there, if you see the audio codec listed as AC-3/EAC-3, then the stream supports 5.1 surround sound, and it will be enabled automatically. The feature is now available on compatible smart TVs, Android TV, Google TV, Chromecast, Roku, various Fire TV devices, and Apple TV. (Although at the time of this writing, this is not yet mentioned on the official support page.)

Now that the most popular hardware platforms support YouTube TV’s premium features, users have access to everything they need: live TV, DVR, surround sound, 4K streaming and offline viewing. The 4K Plus plan costs an additional $19.99 per month on top of the standard subscription of $64.99 per month, which means you’ll pay $85 (plus taxes and fees) per month to replicate that TV experience over cable via streaming.

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