Chances are, you can’t fit an IMAX cinema inside your living room. And that’s where IMAX Enhanced comes in. This new techie standard is designed to bring the big IMAX screen experience into your home via streaming services.
First announced in 2018, it was developed with AV audio experts DTS. Films and TV can be mastered or remastered in IMAX Enhanced to give you the best picture possible.
What does IMAX Enhanced really mean?
If a device or service sports the IMAX Enhanced logo, that means that it meets the rigorous quality standards set out by IMAX. That means you’ll get clearer, brighter pictures with reduced noise and grain, plus immersive sound, courtesy of Dolby Atmos rival DTS:X.
Probably the format’s most noticeable superpower is its stretched 1.90:1 aspect ratio. This is a clever compromise between the usual 1.43:1 you get on an IMAX cinema screen, and the 16:9 widescreen dimensions of your TV.
The super-sized aspect ratio means you’ll get up to 26% more picture on your screen, cutting down the black bars at the top and bottom of the picture, and cramming in more action. Basically, you’re seeing things as the filmmakers created them for IMAX cinema punters.
How to watch IMAX Enhanced
The good news is you don’t technically need to shell out on any new kit to benefit from IMAX Enhanced. It should work on any TV, but larger 4K HDR tellies will do the best job. But while you’ll certainly get a better picture, you won’t get the full experience, including immersive audio, unless you opt for an IMAX Enhanced-certified device. However, all Disney+-friendly devices should support the expanded aspect ratio part.
So far, there’s only a very small selection of hardware that boasts the full IMAX Enhanced stamp of approval. This includes TVs from Sony, TCL and Hisense, speakers from Polk and Philips and AV receivers from Onkyo and Denon. You can find a full list of which devices support the format on the IMAX website.
You can see IMAX Enhanced on a small range of streaming services around the world including Sony Bravia Core, Tencent and Rakuten TV, but the big news is its arrival on Disney+. The new standard is also coming to Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.
What about IMAX Signature Sound by DTS?
IMAX Enhanced is set to get immersive “IMAX signature sound by DTS” in future. Details are thin on the ground just now, but it appears that IMAX Enhanced sound will build on DTS:X, the main rival to Dolby Atmos, which creates a similar three-dimensional sound. There’s currently only a small amount of certified audio hardware, but we expect to see more popping up in future.
What IMAX Enhanced content can I watch?
IMAX is working with Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Sony Pictures to produce IMAX Enhanced content so while the selection is currently tiny, we expect it to start growing in the near future.
Currently, Disney+ is the best spot for your IMAX Enhanced needs. The streaming service launched an initial lineup of 13 Marvel titles featuring the new standard, with more set to be added in future. For some of those, it’s the entire film that’s mastered to take advantage of the expanded aspect ratio, and for others it’s just certain sequences. For a full list of IMAX Enhanced content, head over to IMAX’s website.
What supported Disney+ movies are there?
IMAX Enhanced first launched a whole bunch of Marvel titles, with Disney promising to keep adding to the list. This is the full lineup right now:
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings
- Black Widow
- Avengers: Endgame
- Captain Marvel
- Ant-Man and the Wasp
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Black Panther
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Thor: Love and Thunder
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- Doctor Strange
- Captain America: Civil War
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Iron Man
- Doctor Stange in the Multiverse of Madness
- Disney/Pixar’s Lightyear
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania
How to watch IMAX Enhanced Disney+ movies
If you’re already a Disney+ subscriber, it couldn’t be easier to find IMAX Enhanced films to watch. Just head straight to the Movies tab at the top of the home screen, then select IMAX Enhanced from the dropdown filter list and all the available titles will pop up.
All the titles will play automatically, but you can revert to old-skool widescreen if you prefer. Just head to the ‘Versions’ tab – next to the usual ‘Suggested’ ‘Extras’ and ‘Details’ tabs – where you can choose between IMAX Enhanced and Widescreen.