Audio Tech

Audio Streaming: Netflix Gives Android Users Major Audio Upgrade

Streaming giant, Netflix has announced a major audio upgrade for its customers using the Android mobile app. The invention will make the sound better and make it more clear, plus it will reduce buffering.

According to the statement that Netflix released, the app's sound will now be streamed in the xHE-AAC codec on devices running Android 9 or above. "With its capability to improve intelligibility in noisy environments, adapt to variable cellular connections, and scale to studio-quality, xHE-AAC will be a sonic delight to members who stream on these devices," Netflix stated.

The new format permits higher fidelity audio through enhanced loudness management with the Enhanced HE-AAC codec and MPEG D DRC (Dynamic Range Control).

Netflix says that these features are necessary for playback scenarios whereby an extensive range of a TV show or movie is undesirable or even impossible – such as when low-fidelity earbuds or mobile device speakers are used, or users are watching content in noisy environments.

"If the dynamic range of a member's device and the environment is less than the dynamic range of the content, then they will not hear all of the details in the soundtrack," Netflix stated. "Or they might frequently adjust the volume during the show, turning up the soft sections, and then turning it back down when things get loud."
"In extreme cases, they may have difficulty understanding the dialogue, even with the volume turned up," Netflix said.

The Dynamic Range Control employs a more refined algorithm and metadata to boost softer sounds according to multiple situation-based profiles or scaling gains. For instance, if you have a home theatre, you will get the full range of sound. But if you have a cheap pair of headphones, or are listening through your phone's speaker, then that range is reduced so that the most important pieces of audio make it through.

The codec also supports "seamless bitrate switching," which means it should work better in environments with inconsistent internet speeds. Netflix added similar adaptive bitrate functionality to its TV apps back in 2019.

Share this post