Every Audiophile would talk of good separation as a quality highly admired from a good audio system. Now Dolby Atmos lets surround sound take on Stereo, able to provide separation in all directions, not only between the front speakers, but also between the front and rear speakers. With the ability to bring sounds into the room as if they were overhead and present in the room. The effect is mesmerizing. The whole atmosphere of the scene is portrayed to the extent that you seem to feel wind tug at you, and rain breathe down your neck, and motion swirl around you - not just a vague semblance but really well focused images. Dolby Atmos equipped Receivers are designed with the ability to create this effect even with a standard 5.1 speaker system, but for the full realization of Atmos, you want to add a pair of ceiling mounted height speakers for the overhead effects.
What new Hardware do I need?
You will need a Dolby Atmos equipped Receiver. See Marantz SR-7009
What movies have Atmos?
There are over 150 Atmos-enabled movies. In addition, The Hobbit trilogy, Brave, Gravity, Ender’s Game, Frozen, Pacific Rim, and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron are all mixed in Atmos. These are not yet released in a home-video version but fortunately, the same mix used for a theater can be used at home. So it’s really just a matter of updating the audio mix.
The first Atmos release for Home use
Transformers: Age of Extinction
For the fourth film in the Transformers franchise, Transformers: Age of Extinction, director Michael Bay tasked rerecording mixer Greg Russell and the team to use sound in ways they might not have considered in the first three movies. "When Michael first contacted me about the mix and [told me] that we were going [Dolby] Atmos, he actually said to me, 'I don't want anything coming out of the front speakers. I want to use [Dolby] Atmos in all its glory...'"
Atmos, Streaming and your Blu-ray Player
Netflix have not yet made any announcement, but since Atmos is forward and backward compatible, that should be very easy to implement. Your current Blu-ray player will work just fine.