Plex does support Dolby Vision, but you need to make sure that you have added the file to your Plex Media Server and that the device you are watching on also supports Dolby Vision output.
Dolby Vision is a high-dynamic range (HDR) video format that uses dynamic metadata to adjust the picture on a scene-by-scene (or frame-by-frame) basis. Plex supports a range of HDR formats, including Dolby Vision — here’s what you need to know.
Plex HDR and Dolby Vision
Plex supports Dolby Vision in that any Dolby Vision content you have indexed within Plex Media Server should work on a Dolby Vision compatible device. We tested this using Plex Media Server for macOS, an LG C2 OLED television, and two example video files encoded with Dolby Vision metadata.
For testing, we used a sample Dolby Vision video downloaded from the web, and a video shot on an iPhone that used Dolby Vision for HDR. These files were added to Plex Media Server and then streamed locally over a wireless network to the LG TV, which accessed them using the official Plex app for webOS. We also tested these files using the built-in Plex DLNA/UPnP media server.
Plex labeled the files as “4K DoVi” within the video metadata, a common abbreviation for Dolby Vision content. The files streamed in full 4K resolution over a wireless connection with no issues.
Keep in mind that while some Dolby Vision files work fine using Plex, you may run into problems with others due to DRM requirements. For Dolby Vision to work, the device you’re using to stream video to (your TV, smartphone, or even computer) must support Dolby Vision output.
How Plex HDR Tone Mapping Works on Non-HDR TVs
If your TV doesn’t support HDR content (whether that’s Dolby Vision, HDR10+, or standard HDR10) Plex will attempt to convert this content to standard dynamic range (SDR) format. This works on Plex Media Server 1.21.0 and newer, with software support on all formats.
Keep in mind that converting 4K HDR content to SDR content on the fly is a resource-intensive task, and your server may struggle. Plex notes: “If your platform has to use software transcoding to perform the tone mapping, then it may well struggle [to] convert 4K content in real-time, unless you’re running on a very powerful system.”
One way around this is to use hardware transcoding, which is available to premium Plex Pass subscribers. You can use hardware tone-mapping with certain Intel processors on Linux or NVIDIA GPUs on Windows and Linux. You can find out more about this feature on the Plex Support website.
Plex Supports Dolby Atmos Too
On top of Dolby Vision, Plex also supports the immersive Dolby Atmos surround-sound. For Atmos to work you’ll need content that uses Dolby Atmos, a device that supports decoding or passing through Dolby Atmos, and support for the format on whatever you’re using to watch your content.
The good news is that Plex supports Dolby Atmos, so as long as every link in your chain is Atmos compatible you’ll be able to take advantage of Dolby’s best-ever surround sound.
It’s not only movies that use Dolby Atmos. Apple Music uses Dolby Atmos for spatial audio, which includes head-tracked spatial experiences using AirPods.