The first installation was in the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California, for the première of Brave in June 2012. Throughout 2012, it saw a limited release of about 25 installations worldwide, with an increase to 300 locations in 2013. There are currently 2,000 locations as of February 2015.
The Dolby Atmos technology allows up to 128 audio tracks plus associated pan metadata to be distributed to theaters for optimal, dynamic rendering to loudspeakers based on the theater capabilities. That is, Dolby Atmos enables the re-recording mixer using a Pro Tools plugin (available from Dolby) or a Dolby Atmos equipped large format audio mixing console such as AMS Neve's DFC or Harrison's MPC5, to designate a particular location in the theater, as a three-dimensional placement, where each dynamic sound source should seem to be coming from. Sounds that are not dynamically moving, such as ambient sounds and center dialogues, are still separately pre-mixed in a traditional multichannel format. During playback, each theater's Dolby Atmos system renders all dynamic sounds, from the pan metadata, in real-time to make it seem like each sound is coming from its designated spot, with respect to the speakers present in the target theater. By way of contrast, traditional multichannel technology essentially burns the audio tracks into a fixed number of channels during post-production. This has traditionally forced the re-recording mixer to make up-front assumptions about the playback environment that may not apply very well to a particular theater (to the extent its capabilities differ from the mixing stage where the mixer was working).
The first generation cinema hardware, the "Dolby Atmos Cinema Processor" supports up to 128 discrete audio tracks and up to 64 unique speaker feeds. The technology was initially geared towards commercial cinema applications only, but was later adapted to home cinema. In addition to playing back a standard 5.1 or 7.1 mix using loudspeakers grouped into arrays, the Dolby Atmos system can also give each loudspeaker its own unique feed based on its exact location, thereby enabling many new front, surround, and even ceiling-mounted height channels for the precise panning of select sounds such as a helicopter or rain.
At the end of June 2014, Dolby Labs' hardware partners announced that Dolby Atmos would soon be coming to home theaters.
Among them were several established manufacturers of audio-visual home entertainment devices announcing new products that will bring Dolby Atmos into home theaters across the globe in the imminent future. Products offered will range from premium home cinema receivers and preamplifiers to mid-range home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) packages of well-known brands such as Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer and Yamaha; further models—also from lesser-known manufacturers and brands—will be following before the end of 2014 and through the first half of 2015.
The first movie to be released on Blu-ray with Dolby Atmos was Transformers: Age of Extinction. Several additional releases will be available on Blu-ray Disc in stores through the end of 2014 and, beginning in 2015, there will be numerous releases of both current and catalog titles.
Further information about how Dolby Atmos will integrate into the Atmos Home Theater environment is now being published around the Web.
It remains to be seen if consumers are willing to embrace more speakers in a market that may demand less than believed by some of the authorities in the audio industry.
Differences from commercial installations
Because of limited bandwidth and lack of processing power, Atmos in home theaters is not a real-time mix rendered the same way as in cinemas. The substream is added to Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus. This substream only represents a losslessly encoded fully object-based mix. This substream does not include all 128 objects separated. This is not a matrix-encoded channel, but a spatially-encoded digital channel. Atmos in home theaters can support 24.1.10 channel, but it is not an object-based real-time rendering. Filmmakers need to remix and render the TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks with Dolby Media Producer. 
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- Giardina, Carolyn (May 1, 2012). "Peter Jackson Considering Dolby Atmos for 'The Hobbit'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
- Authoring for Dolby Atmos Cinema Sound Manual (PDF) (Third ed.). Dolby Laboratories, Inc. 2014. pp. 69–103. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- Hidalgo, Jason (April 26, 2012). "Dolby's Atmos technology gives new meaning to surround sound, death from above". Engadget. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
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- Webster, Andrew (April 24, 2012). "Dolby Atmos audio hits moviegoers with sound from all directions". Vox Media. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "Dolby Atmos for home theaters: FAQ". Dolby Laboratories Inc. Retrieved 2014-07-19.
- "Denon Press Release: Denon Unveils New AV Receivers for Dolby Atmos Sound". Retrieved 2014-07-19.
- "Marantz Press Release: Marantz Unveils New AV Receiver and Preamp/Processor for Dolby Atmos Sound". Retrieved 2014-07-19.
- "Onkyo Press Release: New Onkyo High-End A/V Components Debut with Dolby Atmos, 4K/60 Hz Video, and Premium Build". Retrieved 2014-07-19.
- "Onkyo Press Release: Onkyo Unveils Dolby Atmos-Ready HTiB Packages, Speaker Systems, and Base-Model A/V Receiver with HDMI 2.0 and Bluetooth". Retrieved 2014-07-19.
- "Pioneer Press Release: Pioneer announce Dolby Atmos compatible high-end AV receivers". Retrieved 2014-07-02.
- "Yamaha Press Release: Dolby Atmos® through the new AVENTAGE RX-A3040 and RX-A2040 AV receivers.". Retrieved 2014-07-19.
- "Press Release: Dolby Atmos Comes to the Home Via Blu-ray and VUDU to Transport Entertainment Enthusiasts Into a New Dimension of Sound". Retrieved 2014-09-28.
- "Dolby Blog - Lab Notes: Dolby Atmos: Coming soon to a living room near you". Retrieved 2014-07-02.
- "Dolby Atmos Surround Sound Coming to Home Theaters". Retrieved 2014-06-24.