Q. I finally upgraded my Home Theater with a Denon-AVR-x4400h receiver and Vizio P65-E1 TV. Both are awesome! Then I find out Hulu only streams in two-channel stereo. What gives? When will Hulu enter the 21st Century and stream 4K, Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos? — Will, Northern Virginia.
Will, I’ll take 4K first.
Hulu has shown no indication that it will support 4K programming, unlike its rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime. Hulu added some titles in 4K in 2016 (mostly James Bond films), but completely dropped them in early 2018 without explanation. Netflix and Amazon offer dozens of 4K titles but Hulu doesn’t have a single one. In 2019, when more and more people are buying 4K TVs, that’s unacceptable.
Now as to the sound issue.
Hulu says the majority of its streaming lineup (and live TV programming) automatically streams audio in 2.0 stereo quality, as you note. But it adds that some devices can play select titles (mostly Hulu original shows) in High-Definition 5.1 surround sound. The devices are:
Fire TV (3rd Generation and Cube) and Fire TV 4K stick
LG TV (WebOS 3.0 and above)
(Will, take note that your Vizio is not on the list.)
To enable Surround Sound on these devices, you’ll need to select a 5.1 compatible option from the audio output settings.
Despite this limited offering, I agree with your assessment that Hulu is woefully behind Netflix and Amazon in supporting new video and audio technologies. (There is no Dolby Atmos at all.) Unfortunately, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Hulu seems focused on driving subscriber growth by expanding its programming lineup, and offering occasional price discounts.
That’s where it’s putting its money, not in new consumer technology.
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— Phillip Swann