Posted Wed May 1, 2019 at 01:23 PM PDT by Steven Cohen
The streaming service now supports higher bitrate audio playback.
Netflix has announced the launch of High-Quality Audio support, offering sound performance that comes a bit closer to matching the studio master. The feature is now available for 5.1 and Dolby Atmos titles.
The impetus for the audio quality upgrade came during the mixing process of Stranger Things: Season Two. When reviewing the streaming tracks for the opening car chase scene of episode one, The Duffer Brothers noticed that the audio quality wasn't as crisp as it was on the mixing stage. Hoping to provide a better experience closer to the studio master, Scott Kramer, Netflix's Production Sound Technology Manager, and Sean Sharma, Netflix's Engineering Director, developed a method to provide higher bitrate audio playback for the show. And now that feature is being employed across even more content.
Netflix's High-Quality Audio feature is available for 5.1 and Dolby Atmos tracks, offering adaptive support for higher bitrates. This means, that even if a user has bandwidth or device limitations, the sound quality will be able to scale to offer the best streaming audio performance that a customer's setup is capable of. Similar adaptive quality streaming is also used for the platform's video playback. With all that said, even with the new increased quality, Netflix's streaming bitrates still can't match the quality of lossless audio mixes found on discs with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA audio.
Here's a full rundown of the new audio bitrate ranges now available per Netflix:
In addition, the company plans to offer even higher bitrates in the future as encoding tech improves. A current Netflix subscription starts at $13 per month for HD streaming and $16 per month for Ultra HD streaming.
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