This post is not meant to slander or disparage VUDU or Roku companies in any way. I very much appreciate their products and services and was legitimately trying to solve the problem so I can enjoy Dolby Atmos content through streaming. My desire was to help the copmanies solve problems with this post, not to portray them in a bad light.
I used this post to provide adequate information to help get Dolby Atmos working properly with content provided by VUDU on Roku devices. Thankfully we were able to resolve the issue by ensuring my HDMI Audio setting in the Roku is set to "Auto detect" and not any of the other settings you can force. (See explanation below)
I understand that Dolby Atmos streaming content is currently only available on a Roku device through VUDU (I am happy to be corrected if I'm mistaken.) I own several UHD movies that are listed as Dolby Atmos on VUDU and have been able to successfully stream them in the past. But with recent Roku updates and VUDU app updates, problems arise and for the past several months I have not been able to successfully stream Dolby Atmos content through my Roku via VUDU.
I do not experience problems when I play Dolby Atmos content on Blu-Rays (1080p or UHD) through my Blu-Ray player. I can confirm Dolby Atmos content is playing through my receiver using the Onkyo receiver's status overlay which tells me what input stream is detected and what the output is.
When a proper Dolby Atmos input is coming through, the Atmos sound is accurate and the receiver will list:
- Input: Dolby Atmos (with some variations, "Dolby Atmos/TrueHD", "Dolby Atmos/D+", etc.)
- Output: Dolby Atmos 7.2.4 ch
When I have problems with my Roku/VUDU, the Atmos sound is incorrect and the reciever will list:
- Input: Dolby (something other than Atmos), ex: Dolby D+ 5.1ch
- Output: Dolby Surround 7.2.4 ch
Note that the output is Dolby Surround 7.2.4 ... Dolby Atmos technology will try to up-convert Dolby soundtracks that aren't Atmos to an Atmos-like experience. Needless to say, it falls short of the real thing, and is especially disappointing when I know the movie should be in Atmos.
|VUDU Streaming Device||Roku 4 Ultra|
|Blu-Ray Player||Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player|
|Audio/Video Receiver||Onkyo TX-RZ3100 11.2 (7.2.4) Network A/V Receiver|
|Display||VIZIO E60-E3 (60-inch) Ultra HD|
|Roku: Model||4640X - Roku Ultra|
|Roku: Software Version||8.0.1 (build 4090-29)|
|VUDU: UI Version||3.0.231529|
|VUDU: Embedder Version||298.01E04090A (220786)|
|VUDU: Client Version||3.1.0 (rev 220301)|
Compare Roku/VUDU to Blu-Ray
Below are photographs of "Wonder Woman" played through my Roku/VUDU and my Blu-Ray player. I have included each player's information display as well as the Onkyo receiver's status display in the photographs. Note: Both players are connected to my Onkyo receiver, and the receiver is connected to the 4K display.
Notice in the Roku/VUDU photograph that the VUDU app shows in the top-right corner that it is feeding HDR, Atmos, UHD content. The Onkyo receiver disagrees. This is important because, when the Roku/VUDU combo IS working, the Onkyo receiver shows Dolby Atmos (see "Dolby's "Leaf" video (Roku/VUDU)" photograph further down the page.)
Wonder Woman UHD (Roku/VUDU)
Wonder Woman UHD (Blu-Ray)
Example of Dolby Atmos content that works on Roku/VUDU
Below is a photograph of the "Leaf" video that is part of "The Dolby Atmos Experience" digital bundle. (It is a free bundle, so Dolby Atmos owners should add it to their VUDU collection and use it to test/show off your theater. Shameless plug: Dolby makes the best demos ever to show off overhead surround and the full room immersive sound experience)
I have "Leaf" on a Dolby Blu-Ray and on Roku/VUDU and have compared both and they sound the same when Atmos is working on Roku/VUDU. Note: As of 12 May 2018, the Dolby Atmos Experience videos begin as "Dolby D+ 5.1 ch" and switch after a few seconds to Atmos mode... I will refer to this as "lag time" going forward. My ears detected the switch, so I confirmed by replaying the video, watching my Onkyo receiver's status during playback. I believe, in the past, the "Dolby Atmos Experience" videos began and ran in Atmos mode without switching to it in the middle of the video.
The photo below shows the Roku/VUDU status and my Onkyo receiver status, once the video has shifted to Dolby Atmos mode.
Dolby's "Leaf" video (Roku/VUDU)
I am unsure where the problem lies; it could be with the VUDU app, it could be with the Roku firmware, or it could be both. I am submitting this to both companies and will update as I learn more.
Problem lies in the VUDU app?
Since I can play the "Leaf" video and have it run in Atmos, I believe the problem lies with the VUDU app on the Roku. I have tried two Dolby Atmos Experience videos and they both eventually get to Atmos mode and sound accurate when they do. I have tried several UHD movies on VUDU, allowing for similar "lag time", but those videos don't ever switch to Atmos mode.
UHD Atmos movies I have tried on Roku/VUDU: