Dolby Atmos makes House of the Dragon a first for HBO Max

A still image from House of the Dragon
(Image credit: HBO)

It’s one of the most eagerly awaited TV shows in recent memory, and fans of George R.R. Martin's fantasy saga look set to be in for a visual treat, with confirmation that House of the Dragon is being made available in 4K HDR & Dolby Atmos on HBO Max.

While the streaming service has previously made movies available for streaming in 4K HDR in HEVC compression, the release of the Game of Thrones prequel marks the first time a new TV show has been available on HBO Max with 3D audio and HDR.

As well as boasting Dolby Atmos, the show will also be available in the premium HDR format Dolby Vision.

The improved streaming comes after all original episodes of Game of Thrones were recently re-released on the service in 4K HDR.

Across the pond, exclusive UK and Ireland broadcaster Sky has confirmed that House of the Dragon will be available to watch in 4K HDR10 and Dolby Atmos, but won’t be available in Dolby Vision as its Sky Q platform doesn’t currently support the format.

HBO Max in Europe has meanwhile confirmed that both GoT and House of the Dragon are now available on HBO Max in 24fps format, with the original series having previously be shown in a converted 25 frames per second with 4% speedup. 

Based on George R. R. Martin’s 2018 novel, Fire and Blood, House of the Dragon’s first episode aired in the US and UK on Sunday, August 21, with the show set to tell the backstory of the Targaryen dynasty, taking place 200 years prior to the events of Game of Thrones.

Matt Smith in House of the Dragon

(Image credit: HBO)

HBO appear to have learnt a lesson from the GoT blackout disaster

It’s hard to pick apart which aspect of the divisive finale to Game of Thrones finale caused more outrage amongst viewers back in 2019 - the underwhelming story arcs of Daenerys and Bran or the crushed picture quality that viewers had to endure when streaming the show on HBO.

Fans were left up in arms thanks to the reduced detail of shadowy set-pieces with many viewers unable to work out what was going on thanks to artifacts plaguing action scenes.

Series cinematographer Fabien Wagner famously blamed viewers’ ability to tune their TVs, as well as the compression the episode went through for HBO to broadcast and stream it for the problems.

Thankfully it looks like those wanting to watch the latest Targaryen family feud won’t have any such problems this time out.

The improved streaming quality and compression promised by HBO Max, alongside immersive Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision means House of the Dragon should look and sound as epic as befits such a big-billed TV blockbuster.

Kevin Lynch

Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist. The author of Steve Jobs: A Biographic Portrait, Kevin is a regular feature writer for a number of tech sites and the former Technology Editor for the Daily Mirror. He has also served as editor of and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards. Alongside reviewing the latest AV gear, smartphones and computers, Kevin also specialises in music tech and can often be found putting the latest DAWs, MIDI controllers and guitar modellers through their paces. Born within the sound of Bow Bells, Kevin is also a lifelong West Ham fan for his troubles.