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YouTube TV now supports 5.1 surround sound on Apple TV, additional Fire TVs

As promised, you can now get 5.1 surround sound audio from YouTube TV when you’re watching on Apple TV. The addition of those two platforms comes a few months after the feature went live on Roku, Android TV, and Google TV.

Today’s tweet announcing the addition of the feature also included Amazon Fire TV generally, and a quick peek through the supported devices shows that Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick 4K, and other versions of Fire TV Stick also were added. Those devices join Fire TV Stick 4K Max, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Stick Lite, which got the feature back in June. (Note to Amazon: Let’s work on a better naming convention.)

YouTube TV on Apple TV.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

Timing notwithstanding, it means all the major streaming platforms now support 5.1 surround sound with YouTube TV. Still to come, apparently, is support from gaming consoles.

5.1 Audio Update! ??? We now support 5.1 audio on Apple TV & Fire TV devices for compatible YouTube TV content (live, DVR, & video on-demand).

If you’re a game console user, we’re working on getting this available to you as soon as possible, and will share live updates here.

— YouTube TV (@YouTubeTV) September 6, 2022

Why is this important? If you’ve got a stereo system with more than left and right speakers — that is, basic stereo — YouTube TV can now pump audio channels individually to the left, center, right, and rear speakers, in addition to a subwoofer. That’s a big step above basic stereo audio, but still a bit behind Dolby Atmos, which takes a more 360-degree approach than just directional. In any event, it’s a good thing, you want it, and it’s included in the YouTube TV monthly fee.

More on surround sound

YouTube TV is the biggest livestreaming service in the United States, with more than 5 million subscribers at last count. (YouTube TV doesn’t give any more specific numbers than that.) Hulu with Live TV is the next largest, at 4.1 million subscribers. YouTube TV still has just a single main plan with around 100 channels, with a good number of optional add-ons on top of that. There’s also a new Spanish-language plan available on its own, in addition to a Spanish-language add-on.

In addition to the aforementioned Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV also is available on Roku, Android TV, Chromecast with Google TV, various smart TV systems, on gaming consoles, and in a web browser.

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