tvOS 17.1 will deliver Apple TV’s new ‘Enhance Dialogue’ feature to original HomePod and HomePod mini

In tvOS 17.0, Apple’s new “Enhance Dialogue” feature was only available to second-generation HomePods paired with an Apple TV 4K. In tvOS 17.1 and HomePod Software 17.1 betas, Apple looks to have expanded the feature to HomePod mini and first-generation HomePod users.

Apple's original HomePod
Apple’s original HomePod

Chance Miller for 9to5Mac:

Apple explains that Enhance Dialogue makes it easier to hear the dialogue in TV shows and movies by separating the dialogue from the background noise and bringing it forward to the center channel. This means that “users can more clearly hear what is being said over the effects, action, and music in a movie or TV show,” Apple says.

This change was first spotted by our friend Sigmund Judge on Mastodon. This means that people using a HomePod from 2018 or a HomePod mini can now take advantage of Enhance Dialogue on Apple TV 4K. The feature is accessible in the native tvOS 17 video player, under the “Audio Enhancements” menu.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopfully, this feature expansion survives beta testing and makes it to the official iOS 17.1 public release.

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  1. All dialog is mono. Only very rarely would it be mixed to the stereo track but I can’t think of an example. As a stereo effect, such as various voices surrounding the room, this feature will not affect that. 

    1. Let’s try again. “… separating the dialogue from the background noise and bringing it [forward to the center] channel.”

      If multiple people are speaking (e.g. character to front right, front left, and behind you) does this mean you lose the ability to tell where they are in virtual space (e.g. Atmos or Spatial Audio) when you turn on this feature?

      1. Let’s try again.  Dialog is mono center.  If three people are talking in a scene then all three voices are mono center just below the screen.  Even in video games this is the case, unless there is some vocals as a special effect.  Dialog is mono center.  Effects are stereo.  Music is wider stereo.

        Can you give one example of a scene with multiple people speaking and you hear them around your head?  No, because they aren’t around your head, they are on the screen.  Effects and music are immersive and fill the space.   An explosion is heard in all directions of the room. 

        1. Battlefield scenes in many war movies are probably the best example of people talking all around the viewer. To your point, there may be very few non-crowd scenes in other video content that would have need for off-screen lines by actors.

        2. Dialog is recoded mono. Either with a shotgun mic or a lavaliere. Walla or wild lines such as a party scene surround words are a special effect recorded stereo. 

        3. That sounds reasonable. The new feature then would be tech to reconstruct the original voice track from the mixed audio and use Apple’s Spacial Audio to position the speaker(s) to all seem to be positioned front and center of the tv whether you are using only one, or multiple homepods.

  2. The one feature Control Center has always lacked is the ability to provide the status of the remote battery. Why it’s still not available doesn’t make sense, given how the remote is integral to the usability of the Apple TV unit. Keeping my fingers crossed that someone would consider this as uno online a viable enhancement option.

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