Enthusiastic to start listening to content using Dolby Atmos on your TV, you connect your streaming device to it. The compatible streaming device’s Dolby Atmos settings are enabled, but turning on this feature on your TV is proving to be more difficult.
You head to your TV’s Dolby Atmos settings to enable them only to find they’re all greyed out. You try exiting and reopening the settings menu and restarting your TV, but the settings are still locked, making it impossible to alter them.
You don’t think your TV’s Dolby Atmos function is enabled automatically, but you’re struggling to find another explanation.
So, why is Dolby Atmos greyed out on your device? And how can you unlock it?
Keep reading to find out!
Many smartphones’ Dolby Atmos function is only accessible when wired or wireless headphones/earphones are connected. So, if your smartphone’s Dolby Atmos is greyed out, it’s best to ensure your headphones are properly connected either via a wired connection or Bluetooth.
Phones that require a headphone connection usually lack the proper built-in speakers to play Dolby Atmos audio. However, they can play high-quality audio via headphones.
Luckily, there are a few higher-end models, like the Galaxy S9/S9+, S10e, S10, S10+, and Note9, that do boast high-quality speakers that can support Dolby Atmos. Needless to say, these smartphones also support this feature for headphones as well.
So, unless you’re the lucky owner of a high-end smart, you must ensure your headphones are securely connected to your smartphone to access Dolby Atmos.
If you’re planning on playing Dolby Atmos audio to a larger crowd, you can also connect your smartphones to an external speaker (e.g. Bluetooth speaker, soundbar, etc.) by following the steps listed below.
Step 1: Adjust your soundbar’s connection method to Bluetooth.
Step 2: Enable your phone’s Bluetooth setting.
Step 3: Then, pair your soundbar with your phone using Bluetooth.
Step 4: Now that the Dolby Atmos setting is unlocked, toggle it On.
Follow our instructions below to fix greyed-out Dolby Atmos settings on your TV brand.
The Dolby Atmos settings on compatible Samsung TVs will be locked unless the following requirements are met:
- The TV’s eARC function is enabled. Dolby Atmos only supports eARC HDMI connections.
- You’re using an HDMI 2.1 cable or above, as only these cables support eARC.
- Your TV is securely connected to a Dolby Atmos-compatible external speaker, such as a soundbar.
Now that you know which conditions your TV must meet to enable Dolby Atmos, let’s discuss how to unlock your Samsung TV’s Dolby Atmos feature.
Step 1: Connect an HDMI 2.1 cable or above to your TV’s HDMI eARC port before connecting the other end to the soundbar’s HDMI eARC port.
Step 2: Adjust your soundbar’s connection method to eARC/ARC.
Step 3: Now, turn your attention to your Samsung TV and launch the Settings (All Settings) menu. Then, head to General followed by External Device Manager.
Step 4: Go to Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) and turn it On.
Step 5: Head back to Settings (All Settings) before going to Audio (Sound) and then Expert Settings. Navigate to HDMI eARC Mode and set it to Auto.
Step 6: Now, your TV’s Dolby Atmos feature will automatically enable once its conditions are met.
A few LG TV users found their Dolby Atmos settings were greyed out when the TV’s eARC feature was turned off while connecting a Dolby Atmos-compatible soundbar through the HDMI eARC port.
So, it’s best to ensure that the TV’s eARC feature is enabled to avoid the greyed-out Dolby Atmos issue.
Follow the steps below to enable your LG TV’s eARC function.
Step 1: Using an HDMI 2.1 or above cable, plug one end into the LG TV’s eARC/ARC port before connecting the other end to your soundbar’s eARC/ARC port.
Step 2: Hit your remote’s Menu button to launch the All settings screen.
Step 3: Next, navigate to Sound before selecting Advanced Settings. Then, enable eARC Support.
Follow the steps listed below to enable your Sony TV’s eARC function.
Step 1: Connect one end of an HDMI 2.1 or above cable to your TV’s eARC/ARC port before connecting the other end to the soundbar’s eARC/ARC port.
Step 2: Press the remote’s Menu button to navigate to the Menu settings screen.
Step 3: Head to Display & Sound and then to Audio output. Finally, select eARC mode and set it to Auto.
Watch the video below demonstrating how to enable eARC on a Sony TV.
Follow the instructions below to turn on eARC on your TCL TV.
Step 1: With an HDMI 2.1 or above cable connect your TV’s eARC/ARC port to your soundbar’s eARC/ARC port.
Step 2: Hit the Menu key on your TV remote to open the Menu settings.
Step 3: Head to the Settings followed by Channel & inputs and Inputs.
Step 4: Change eARC Mode to ON.
On Windows Laptops or PCs
An enabled mono audio feature will often prompt the Spatial Sound for Dolby Atmos function on your laptop to be greyed out. Since mono audio and Dolby Atmos use two different audio technologies, they can not be turned on simultaneously.
Naturally, the easiest solution is to disable mono audio and therefore unlock your laptop/PC’s Dolby Atmos feature.
Follow the steps below to turn off your device’s mono audio settings.
Step 1: Navigate to your laptop/PC’s Settings.
Step 2: Search for “mono audio” before clicking Turn mono audio on or off.
Step 3: Change Turn on mono audio to Off.
Now, when you navigate to your laptop/PC’s Spatial Sound (Dolby Atmos/DTS) settings, you should see they’re accessible and can be enabled.
On Apple TVs
Dolby Atmos audio can be enabled on Apple TVs by connecting the device to a soundbar via HDMI passthrough. This process uses the soundbar as a bridge between the Apple TV and the TV, allowing the soundbar to play the Apple TV’s audio while the TV plays its video.
Check out our comprehensive guide to learn how to connect your Apple TV to a soundbar.
Your Apple TV’s Dolby Atmos settings will be greyed out if the Audio Settings’ Change Format feature is enabled.
So, you’ll need to disable Change Format before you can enable Dolby Atmos on your Apple TV.
Follow the steps below to turn off Change Format.
Step 1: Navigate to Settings.
Step 2: Open Video and Audio.
Step 3: Go to Audio Format.
Step 4: Head to Change Format and set it to Off.
Now you can head to your Apple TV’s Dolby Atmos setting and turn it on.
Wrapping Things Up
Dolby Atmos is a high selling point for many smartphones, TVs, laptops/PCs, and streaming devices. However, certain conditions must be met to use it, otherwise, the feature will be greyed out.
If needed, ensure your smartphone is properly connected to headphones and that your TV is connected to a compatible external speaker via HDMI eARC using an HDMI 2.1 or above cable.
You may also need to adjust certain settings, as some disabled features can prevent Dolby Atmos from being turned on.
Once you’ve connected the necessary devices and changed the proper settings, you should be ready to listen to your favorite films in Dolby Atmos.
What’s your experience with Dolby Atmos being greyed out? How were you able to fix it?
Let us know in the comments below!
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.