Bad news, Apple TV isn't getting this key YouTube TV feature anytime soon

Apple Tv 4k Review
Apple Tv 4k Review (Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple TV will not be getting 5.1 support for YouTube TV any time soon.
  • The platform rolled out 5.1 to Google, Android, and Roku devices this week.
  • However, it says it doesn't have a time frame for the rollout on Apple devices.

YouTube says it doesn't currently have a time frame as to when it will roll out 5.1 support to YouTube TV on Apple TV.

The company announced this week that YouTube TV was rolling out 5.1 audio to Google TV, Android TV, and Roku devices this week. By its own admission, YouTube says that it knows customers have been waiting for the update for some time.

It went on to admit that users of devices like the Apple TV 4K (2021) and Apple's other best Apple TV models are going to have to keep waiting:

We're still working internally and with partners to enable 5.1 on Apple TV, Fire TV, and game consoles, and we'll update you here once they're available.

When pressed, YouTube told one Twitter user "we currently don't have a time frame as to when will 5.1 audio be available on Apple TV."

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Out in the cold?

YouTube isn't the only platform not showing any love to Apple TV. At WWDC 2022 this week Apple didn't even bother to give tvOS 16 any keynote airtime, instead it just quietly rolled out a small upgrade after the event was done, instead giving all of the plaudits to iOS 15, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and the new M2 MacBook Air.

YouTube TV lets users enjoy its programs in 5.1 surround sound when using the app on a compatible device, and the full audio experience is delivered automatically whenever it's available. Of course, for users of the service, not having 5.1 support on Apple TV is still a big omission, and might even encourage users to shop elsewhere for their home entertainment devices if the feature is really that important to them.

With Apple itself investing less time and effort into both Apple TV's hardware and software, it's no wonder that other platforms might feel a similar apathy towards the product, which Steve Jobs once described as "just a hobby". Apple might have some plans to fix that, however, with rumors the company may be planning a low-cost version of the Apple TV, possibly a TV stick of sorts, to help with its ailing pricing strategy. Ming-Chi Kuo preidcts that Apple will launch the device in the second half of 2022.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9