Launching Dolby Atmos on Freeview


Dolby Atmos is the name of a surround sound technology announced by Dolby Laboratories in April 2012 and released in June that year. In 2014 Jonathan Marshall was approached by Dolby to suggest ways to bring this technology to UK broadcast infrastructure.


Various platforms were examined including Freeview, Youview, Freesat and Sky.

Currently all Freeview channels use either MPEG or AAC audio for broadcast service. Research and testing into the specifications revealed that Dolby Digital streams were also supported by all Freeview HD devices.


Jonathan approached a number of channels including VintageTV who produce and broadcast studio and live music events.

Most music events are captured in multitrack format and edited before broadcast into stereo over the broadcast network.

However many artists now produce multi-channel sound mixes of their music particularly for DVD and BluRay releases of their music. It was proposed that VintageTV become the first UK broadcaster on Freeview to make use of Dolby immersive audio for music productions.


A workshop was set up to allow the VintageTV audio engineers to learn from existing audio engineers specialised in producing surround sound mixes from music concerts.

Infrastructure and workflow

The existing broadcast chain was examined and the integration point were identified.


  • Work with existing standards to create a working prototype using DD+ streams to deliver immersive audio
  • Create educational seminar sample material to increase awareness in the broadcast industry
  • Contact channels on DVB-T2 multiplexes to investigate appetite for launching multichannel or immersive audio
  • Liaise with manufacturers to test DD+ multichannel and Atmos based services on Freeview devices
  • Investigate the ability to deliver DD+ based Atmos services over IP on FreeviewHD devices
  • Investigate the ability to deliver IP audio DD+ services over HbbTV synchronised with live video


The 9-month project was a success and gave VintageTV a path to launch both surround sound and object-based audio services. Dolby is now offering similar services to other broadcasters in the UK and beyond.

As a Technical Strategist at Dolby, Jonathan Marshall was responsible for identifying, developing and showcasing immersive audio services on Freeview.

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