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Free on Apple TV: Pearl Jam’s new album is now a Dolby Vision/Atmos experience

The recent stay-at-home orders haven’t been easy on anyone, but starting on Friday, Pearl Jam fans have a reason to be excited: The band’s latest album, Gigaton, which was released at the end of March, had been turned into a visual album experience that is free to watch for seven days on any device that can access the Apple TV app.

If you own an Apple TV 4K, a Dolby Vision-compatible 4K HDR TV, and a Dolby Atmos-capable sound system, you’re in for an even more immersive version.

Dolby Vision, as one of the most popular HDR formats, will help bring Gigaton to life visually. For music fans, however, the secret sauce will undoubtedly be the use of Dolby Atmos Music for the soundtrack.

You’re probably familiar with Dolby Atmos for movies, with its 3D-surround effects that allow on-screen objects to sonically move around your room. But the same technology can be used to make music more immersive, too, and the result is something you simply have to hear to appreciate. That’s the problem with Dolby Atmos Music: As awesome as it is, it’s nearly impossible for you to hear it at the moment, even if you own all of the necessary hardware.

Right now, the only way to hear Atmos for music is to subscribe to Amazon Music HD and listen to select Dolby Atmos Music tracks on an Amazon Echo Studio speaker. No other combination of streaming services and hardware will work.

This makes Pearl Jam’s Gigaton visual album experience on Apple TV something of a breakthrough moment for Dolby’s technology as it relates to music instead of movies. As long as you have the gear listed above, you’ll be able to hear the difference that Atmos can make.

And it’s free. After the initial seven-day period, you’ll be able to buy or rent it via Apple Music.

To be fair, there are already a handful of ways to get the Dolby Atmos Music experience, like Taylor Swift’s Netflix-exclusive live concert from her Reputation tour. But there’s a difference between Dolby Atmos used to capture the realism of a live concert, and Dolby Atmos used to record a studio album.

“I’m excited for fans to be able to immerse themselves in the sound and to hear the depth and layers of these songs and performances,” Gigaton producer Josh Evans said in a press release. “It’s truly a unique way to experience this album.”

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
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