Netflix on Wednesday announced a new feature for its streaming video service, which Netflix says takes the sound quality of the service to “another level.” High-Quality Audio on the Netflix service is designed to deliver audio that is closer to what creators hear in the studio.
Netflix says the new audio results in a “richer, more intense experience.” (So that “Netflix BUHM-BUHM! Sound” before each movie or show starts should really wake up the neighbors.)
Netflix’s audio bitrate now goes up to 640 kb/s on 5.1 surround sound-compatible devices and 768 kb/s on devices that support Dolby Atmos. The improved Dolby Atmos sound requires a Netflix Premium subscription.
Most TV devices that support 5.1 or Dolby Atmos are capable of receiving better sound. Depending on your device and bandwidth capabilities, the bitrate you receive may vary:
5.1: From 192 kbps (good) up to 640 kbps (great/perceptually transparent)
Dolby Atmos: From 448 kbps up to 768 kbps (Dolby Atmos is available for members subscribed to the Premium plan)
The new feature is adaptive, so no matter what your bitrate or bandwidth limitation, you’ll get the best possible audio for your device. Netflix expects the new bitrates will evolve over time as it improves its encoding techniques.