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Experience Netflix shows with the new 'High Quality Audio' for TV users
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Experience Netflix shows with the new 'High Quality Audio' for TV users

Rishabh Pachory

Watching stuff on Netflix is always a pleasure. High quality sound and video, pause and play whenever you feel like it, switch from your laptop to your TV exactly where you left off and many more facilities, it goes without saying that Netflix has spoilt us for choice. Now, the streaming service is adding a new feature solely for TV users and it entails making use of studio like sound technologies to provide a more immersive and better surround sound system or in Netflix's words, 'High Quality Audio'.

At the same time however, Netflix heavily relies on the internet connection and does not offer users the choice of quality to stream. This is solely done by the streaming service and it analyses the network strength and automatically selects the best quality. The audio quality will also be selected on the same basis and the user will not have control over when it is actually activated.

Additionally, if you have the bandwidth or device limitations, it will adapt itself accordingly to deliver the best possible audio to match your capabilities. Netflix began streaming 5.1 surround audio in 2010, and began streaming Dolby Atmos in 2016.

The high quality sound is not entirely FLAC or lossless audio. Based on internal listening tests, Netflix has determined that for Dolby Digital Plus at and above 640 kbps, the audio coding quality is perceptually transparent.

Most TVs that support 5.1 or Dolby Atmos are capable of receiving better sound. Depending on your device and bandwidth capabilities, the bitrate you receive may vary:

  • 5.1: From 192 kbps (good) up to 640 kbps (great/perceptually transparent)
  • Dolby Atmos: From 448 kbps up to 768 kbps (Dolby Atmos is available for members subscribed to the Premium plan)

According to Netflix, this technology is made possible by combining creative technology with engineering teams, they've been able to not only solve a problem, but use that problem to improve the quality of audio for millions of members worldwide.