Netflix has partnered with the audio company Sennheiser to bring spatial audio to all devices. The Feature will initially be available on select Netflix original titles, including Stranger Things season 4, Red notice, Locke & key and The Witcher.
Spatial audio provides a user a cinema-like audio experience on TVs and other steaming devices, especially while using headphones. Inbuilt compatibility is usually available in higher-end devices. In a blog post, Netflix said that the feature will be “compatible with all devices, all streaming plans, and does not require surround sound speakers or home theatre equipment.”
Netflix will be achieving this by converting surround sound mixes into an expansive spatial audio presentation, to be experienced using stereo speakers or headsets/headphones. Traditional surround sound audio tracks will be replaced by Sennheiser’s Ambeo 2-Channel Spatial Audio. This will make the audio more immersive, as the user would be able to distinguish a sound made by an object farther and to the right of the scene, from that of an object in the middle of the scene, for example. This feature will be available for all streaming plans, and all devices.
Commenting on their new technology, Sennheiser said “While Ambeo 2-Channel Spatial Audio is not a separate mix, creators still have granular control over spatialisation. 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 spatialisation can be applied to ambience and sound effects.”
Netflix has been shedding customers at an alarming rate, with recent reports indicating the platform’s difficulties in retaining even the oldest, most faithful customers of the streaming service. As the market shifts to rival OTTs like Hulu, HBOMax and Disney+ quickly, everyone has been waiting on what Netflix brings to the table to re-establish it’s OTT market superiority. It remains to be seen on weather this move helps in that regard. Meanwhile, we shall certainly get to enjoying Milly Bobby Brown flipping over a military helicopter in spatial audio.