Skip to main content

YouTube TV now supports 5.1 surround sound on Apple TV, additional Fire TVs

As promised, you can now get 5.1 surround sound audio from YouTube TV when you’re watching on Apple TV. The addition of those two platforms comes a few months after the feature went live on Roku, Android TV, and Google TV.

Today’s tweet announcing the addition of the feature also included Amazon Fire TV generally, and a quick peek through the supported devices shows that Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick 4K, and other versions of Fire TV Stick also were added. Those devices join Fire TV Stick 4K Max, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Stick Lite, which got the feature back in June. (Note to Amazon: Let’s work on a better naming convention.)

YouTube TV on Apple TV.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

Timing notwithstanding, it means all the major streaming platforms now support 5.1 surround sound with YouTube TV. Still to come, apparently, is support from gaming consoles.

5.1 Audio Update! 🔈🔉🔊 We now support 5.1 audio on Apple TV & Fire TV devices for compatible YouTube TV content (live, DVR, & video on-demand).

If you’re a game console user, we’re working on getting this available to you as soon as possible, and will share live updates here.

— YouTube TV (@YouTubeTV) September 6, 2022

Why is this important? If you’ve got a stereo system with more than left and right speakers — that is, basic stereo — YouTube TV can now pump audio channels individually to the left, center, right, and rear speakers, in addition to a subwoofer. That’s a big step above basic stereo audio, but still a bit behind Dolby Atmos, which takes a more 360-degree approach than just directional. In any event, it’s a good thing, you want it, and it’s included in the YouTube TV monthly fee.

More on surround sound

YouTube TV is the biggest livestreaming service in the United States, with more than 5 million subscribers at last count. (YouTube TV doesn’t give any more specific numbers than that.) Hulu with Live TV is the next largest, at 4.1 million subscribers. YouTube TV still has just a single main plan with around 100 channels, with a good number of optional add-ons on top of that. There’s also a new Spanish-language plan available on its own, in addition to a Spanish-language add-on.

In addition to the aforementioned Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV also is available on Roku, Android TV, Chromecast with Google TV, various smart TV systems, on gaming consoles, and in a web browser.

Editors' Recommendations

Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
YouTube TV fixes one of the more annoying parts of its guide
YouTube TV app icon on Apple TV.

YouTube TV — the most popular live-streaming service in the U.S. with more than 8 million subscribers at last count — has quietly fixed what has to be one of its more maddening features (0r bugs, depending on how you see things). Its program guide is lengthy. But until recently, it had a habit of bouncing between the channel you're currently on when you'd open the guide back up and bouncing back up to the very top of the list if you didn't time things just right.

That's always been annoying, at best, especially if you're a channel-flipper making your way down the list.

Read more
Max is now available to watch on YouTube Primetime Channels
Max on YouTube Primetime Channels as seen on an iPhone.

Max — the streaming service that houses all the shows and movies from the combined Warner Bros. Discovery universe — is now available to watch in full on YouTube. Or, rather, on YouTube Primetime Channels.

That's the somewhat clunky name for the scheme by which you can watch subscription services from within YouTube itself. It's exactly the same idea as what's going on with NFL Sunday Ticket. You subscribe and watch on YouTube and pay via your Google account. It's also pretty much the exact same thing as Max on Amazon Prime Channels. But unlike the Amazon options, only one flavor of Max is available on YouTube PrimeTime Channels. You'll get the full version, sans advertising, for $16 a month. (It rounds up to a little more than $18 a month after taxes.)

Read more
YouTube TV looks to lessen live latency with broadcast delay feature
The YouTube TV broadcast delay feature.

If you've ever streamed live TV — particularly a sporting event — while also following the same event on social media, you'll have likely noticed that latency is a thing. That is, that what you're watching is behind what folks are talking about online. Latency has always been the nemesis of the internet. It causes web pages to load slower. Games to freeze up. And video to lag behind.

But a new feature slipped into YouTube TV (and as noted by the YouTube TV folks on Reddit) aims to give you a little control over things. Specifically, it's meant to help reduce that broadcast delay.

Read more