Netflix has announced that it is upgrading its streaming service to include adaptive high-quality audio – offering a higher bitrate for TV devices that support either 5.1 surround sound or Dolby Atmos depending upon your device and bandwidth capabilities.
Up until this point, Netflix’s audio has streamed at a max bit rate of the quite good 192kbps for 5.1 and 448kbps for Atmos. That bitrate ceiling is now being raised to 640kbps and 768kbps respectively and could go higher as they continue to get more efficient with encoding techniques.
Though the sound is not lossless, it is ‘perceptually transparent’ and so indistinguishable from the original master source even by expert listeners the streamer claims. They also indicated it was “Stranger Things” the Duffer Brothers and their dissatisfaction with a sequence in the second season that led to Netflix’s engineers trying to make improvements.
Testing on the new audio tech has been underway for months with a small subset of its audience. It has now rolled out the new audio to its entire subscriber base with everyone able to receive it from today.