As a home cinema speaker, the HomePod isn’t the best possible option. However, the smart speaker is going to be getting a lot more useful soon enough. According to a report from The Verge, Apple has confirmed that the HomePod will be gaining support for Dolby Atmos audio. In addition to that, the smart speaker will also be able to output 5.1 and 7.1 channel audio. The kicker is that this support will only be available with the Apple TV 4K.
Technically speaking, the feature will work with just one HomePod paired to an Apple TV 4K. However, the best way to experience the feature will be pairing two HomePods together to output the high-quality audio.
It’s worth noting that Apple’s new, smaller HomePod mini doesn’t support the home cinema feature. That means it won’t be able to output Dolby Atmos audio when connected to an Apple TV 4K.
Apple is testing this feature now, and, as noted by 9to5Mac in a separate report, tvOS 14.2 beta 3 allows Apple TV 4K owners to set the HomePod as the default speaker output. Right now, utilizing AirPlay 2, users have to choose the HomePod every single time they start watching content.
But wait, there’s more
That’s not all, though. The HomePod is getting new surround sound functionality as well. This will rely on the spatial awareness feature that’s baked into the smart speaker, letting it output virtual surround sound. Yet again, this is not a feature that will make the leap to the HomePod mini, because that smaller speaker doesn’t have the same beam-forming technologies.
Of course, you can still use AirPlay 2 to connect your HomePod mini to the Apple TV 4K, and it will output sound.
If you have a HomePod, do you think you’ll be taking advantage of these features?