Hotstar – now Disney + Hotstar – has finally taken hold over time. Five years after its launch, India’s largest streaming service by some metric, Dolby Digital is finally offering 5.1 surround sound. Earlier, Hotstar was limited to stereo sound. For now though, it’s limited to just the Star Wars series The Mandalorian, and is only available on the Disney + Hotstar app for Android TV, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. And it is slowly being rolled out, as happened with the beta rollout of the Disney + Hotstar app. We were unable to watch Dolby 5.1 audio on Mandalorian, but Disney + Hotstar confirmed the existence of Gadgets 360.
In response to user queries on Twitter on Friday, Disney + Hotstar customer service account said: “You can enjoy Mandalorian with 5.1 sound on our latest apps on Fire TV, Android TV and Apple TV. We will soon be bringing 5.1 sound for more content. Appreciate your support.”
It is unclear why the surround sound is only available on a single property and does not include other Disney + originals, let alone the larger Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars films. Nevertheless, it is a welcome move. This marked the arrival of its parent company’s new streaming service to bring Hotstar into the 21st century.
Unfortunately, 5.1 surround sound is still not available to everyone on Disney + Hotstar. Gadgets 360 tested on a Vue Android TV, but we couldn’t see the “Dolby 5.1” text next to the Mandalorian. (Netflix performed “5.1” on the same TV, in which case you’re surprised.) Hopefully, Disney + Hotstar will roll it out to everyone soon and follow it with more content in surround sound. And while we’re asking for favors here, we’ll probably have 4K resolution and high-dynamic-range (HDR) video, and apps for consoles soon. Hey, Although a man can dream.
And on that note, maybe Disney + Hotstar will give us Futurama as well, though its absence – on Disney + globally – is probably beneath Disney’s family-friendly image.
Disney + Hotstar is only one of the big three with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video – which do not have those aforementioned features. Both Netflix and Amazon offer Dolby Atmos on select titles, which at this point feels like a distant dream with Disney + Hotstar.
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