Samsung's 2024 TVs to support 360-degree Audio over headphones
Samsung's 2024 TVs to support 360-degree Audio over headphones
By Mike Wheatley - 23 February 2024

Samsung Electronics says it’s implementing support for headphone-based 3D audio in its highest-end 2024 TVs, delivering a “theatre-like experience” for those who wear headsets at home. 

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It’s a bold claim and the new functionality is being integrated with a number of its 2024 TV models, including the Samsung Neo QLED 8K QN900D and QN800D models, plus the Neo QLED 4K QN95D, QN90D, QN87D and QN85D models. It will also arrive on the S95D, S90D and S85D OLED TVs, plus the Q80D and Q70D QLED models, the company said. 

360-degree Audio over headphones enables what the company describes as virtualised surround sound audio via headsets, and it sounds somewhat similar to the Spatial Audio functionality in Apple’s AirPods. Supported TVs transmit a 5.1 surround sound signal which can be transformed into a 360-degree sound experience using some clever processing techniques. Samsung said the feature also supports head-tracking, which means the sound will appear to come from the same direction even when the user turns their head. 

Samsung has already implemented similar functionality on other gadgets, including its Galaxy smartphones, tablets and laptops, but this is the first time it’s adding it to its TVs. 

However, there appear to be a couple of caveats. The first is that the feature will only be supported on the company’s own headsets, meaning you’ll need to purchase some Galaxy Buds 2 or Galaxy Buds 2 Pro headphones to take advantage of it. They’ll get support for the feature via a coming firmware update that’s set to roll out this week, the company said. It added that it will “continue evolving the Galaxy Buds series to deliver intelligent, best-in-class and seamlessly connected sound,” which suggests that there could soon be a new Galaxy Buds model coming out that supports 360-degree sound out of the box 

The second caveat is that there’s no mention of Dolby Atmos support, which is a shame as it is one of the best and most widely used surround sound formats. It’s well known that Samsung doesn’t seem to like Dolby Vision, but some of its newer TVs do at least support Dolby Atmos, so there’s hope that the support may come later on down the line. Samsung’s plan may be to use the new feature to experiment with its own Immersive Audio Model and Formats, claims a report by Tom’s Guide

We don’t yet know what streaming services the new feature will support, or if Samsung is planning to allow third-party headphone brands to join the party. Most of all, we don’t yet know how good the new feature will be in terms of actual sound quality – something that will only become clear once it goes live.