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Netflix is finally bringing high-quality sound to its streaming service

Updated May 6th, 2019 5:38PM EDT
Netflix High-quality Audio
Image: Paul Sakuma/AP/Shutterstock

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Netflix has been working for months on fixing a problem that some users may not even be aware of, and that’s the sound experience on both its original shows and the licensed content. The company thinks it has figured out how to improve the audio experience, and the upgrade is rolling out today, assuming you qualify.

It was shortly after season two of Stranger Things was released when Netflix engineers noticed that the sound experience wasn’t that great, the company explains in a blog post. So Netflix came up with a solution that could be used to improve the sound across all the shows available on the platform, not just its originals.

Not only did Netflix increase the bit rate of all audio streams from 192Kbps up to 640Kbps, but it also brought its adaptive video streaming process to audio streaming. That’s a machine learning algorithm that analyzes your connection to adapt video streaming in real time. The same will now happen with your audio experience. The better your connection, the better the sound.

What that means is that you’ll need an extra 0.5Mbps to handle the “high-quality audio.” In other words, you won’t need to upgrade your internet connection to get better sound on all Netflix shows.

However, you might need better speakers to get high-quality audio out of your Netflix binging sessions. The sound is optimized for streaming boxes, speakers, and soundbars that can support Dolby 5.1 and Dolby Atmos. If your equipment doesn’t meet those standards, then you won’t take advantage of Netflix’s new sound experience.

The upgrade is rolling out to users on Wednesday, and, as long as you meet the conditions above, you should get better sound on Netflix automatically.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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