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Apple TV 4K to add Dolby Atmos, out-of-this-world screen savers in next update

Apple has announced that a number of very cool updates will come to its Apple TV 4K streaming box when users update their devices to its upcoming tvOS 12 software.

At this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote presentation, the tech giant announced support for Dolby Atmos object-based audio, a number of new channels and cable TV integrations, and even a series of Aerial screen savers that were shot on the International Space Station.

The addition of Dolby Atmos will make Apple’s streaming box the first on the market to feature support for both Atmos and the Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) codec, according to the company, allowing viewers a fantastic combination of beautiful images and sound. Apple’s online store, iTunes, has already been a big hit with customers who enjoy 4K media, with the company offering free upgrades to 4K HDR for all previously purchased films when the Apple TV 4K first launched. That theme will continue with the addition of Dolby Atmos coming to iTunes, with the company offering free upgrades to object-based audio for all previously purchased films in users’ film libraries.

Apple is also partnering with a number of the world’s biggest cable providers for better built-in integration. In the United States, Apple has partnered with Charter Communications — the second largest provider in the country — to allow access to live channels and tens of thousands of on-demand programs via Charter’s Spectrum TV app. Charter is joined by AT&T’s DirectTV Now in the United States, CANAL+ in France, and Salt in Switzerland. To deal with all those subscriptions, Apple has also added a new feature called “Zero sign-on,” which will allow users to be automatically signed in based on their cable subscription — beginning with Charter and extending to other cable providers over time.

Perhaps the most obvious change for most users with the tvOS 12 update will come in the form of gorgeous new screen savers. Apple has worked in collaboration with the International Space Station National Lab and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space to get beautiful 4K HDR scenes from space for its Aerial screen saver app. Apple TV 4K owners will be able to get 16 sunrises and sunsets per day, and will also now have access to photographer and location information when they see a screen saver they like. One tap of the Siri remote will show the background information for all Aerial photos.

A developer preview of tvOS 12 is already available on Apple’s developer website, and the full version of tvOS 12 will come to Apple TV 4K owners via a free software update this fall. For more information, visit the company’s website.

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Parker Hall
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Parker Hall is a writer and musician from Portland, OR. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin…
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