Netflix has announced a new spatial audio feature coming to the platform. In fact, it is already rolling out across certain shows and movies. The new audio system will deliver more immersive sound across the streaming app, especially for those who watch content through stereo speakers or headphones. Netflix says users don’t have to purchase anything special to take advantage of the new spatial audio tech. You don’t even need to own a fancy high-end surround sound system in order to benefit from the feature. “It is compatible with all devices, all streaming plans and does not require any special tech”, says Netflix.
The company explained how this new spatial audio tech works. It reportedly translates the cinematic audio experience to any stereo speaker set. This means the work the creators do in order to master the sound for their movies and shows won’t change during the translation process. Netflix has adopted the Ambeo 2-Channel Spatial Audio tech in order to bring this to customers.
There is a catch to this. Those of you with full Dolby Atmos sound systems in your homes won’t benefit from this new spatial audio tech on Netflix. That is because your sound mix is already being translated for your system and in a way, this new spatial audio tech is meant to “fake” what you already hear in your full set-up.
While Ambeo 2-Channel Spatial Audio is not a separate mix, creators still have granular control over spatialization. Mixers can define the amount of Ambeo processing for each group separately. Re-recording mixers can dial-in the desired amount of processing, from standard stereo mixdown up to full Ambeo effect and anywhere in-between. Dialog can be left untouched, while maximum spatialization can be applied to ambience and sound effects.
If you have ever made use of Apple’s Spatial Audio tech with a pair of AirPods then this feature is very similar.
At the moment, there are only a few select shows available with Netflix spatial audio tech. This includes Stranger Things 4, Red Notice and The Witcher. However, the company says users can simply search “spatial audio” on the app and everything listed there will be enhanced for the feature. More titles are expected to arrive as the months go by.