Netflix gets high-quality audio upgrade

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When it comes to streaming video, Apple is the underdog against Netflix.
High-quality audio is now on Netflix.
Photo: Stock Catalog/Flickr CC

Your favorite shows and movies on Netflix are about to start sounding a lot better.

Netflix came out with a new update today that takes the streaming service’s audio quality to a new level. Sound is supposed to be “more crisp and more intense” so that it gets you more immersed in the story.

High-quality audio is supposed to deliver sound into your living room that is closer to what show creators hear in the studio. Similar to Netflix’s adaptive video quality, the new audio feature will dynamically adjust to your bandwidth and device limitations. This will give viewers the best experience no matter what TV, tablet or phone you’re watching on.

In its announcement of the new feature, Netflix notes that most devices that support 5.1 or Dolby Atmos (like Apple TV 4K) are capable of receiving better sound. The bitrate sent to your device may vary depending on its capabilities.

Devices with 5.1 capabilities will have a bitrate varying from 192 kbps (good) to 640 kbps (great). If you have a Dolby Atmos capable device you’ll get between 448 kbps to 768 kbps. Only Netflix Premium subscribers will have access to the Dolby Atmos bitrates though.

Netflix says its bitrates will evolve over time as it gets more efficient with encoding. You should start hearing a noticeable difference in audio starting today.