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Netflix new Android app features boosts audio wherever you listen

Netflix users on Android can expect an audio boost, which the company says will deliver studio quality sound.

The updated Netflix app now for Android includes support for Extended HE-AAC with MPEG-D DRC (xHE-AAC). Wondering what all that means? Well you’re not alone. This is some complex stuff.

The long and short is, those on Android 9 and above, can expect higher audio quality when the web connection allows. In a lengthy post on its tech blog, Netflix says: “Our xHE-AAC streams deliver studio-quality audio when network conditions allow, and minimise rebuffers when the network is congested.” So far, so good.

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Netflix also says the new codec offers greatly improved dialogue in noisy environments. That’s in-part due to a loudness management feature that ensures there’s a smoothed experience across genres and the addition of dynamic range control. So, for example, you can go from a drama to an action movie without having to adjust the volume, Netflix says.

“By using metadata and decode-side gain to normalise loudness, Netflix leverages xHE-AAC to minimise the total number of gain stages in the end-to-end system, maximising audio quality, the firm writes. “Devices retain the ability to customise output level based on unique listening conditions. We also retain the option to defeat loudness normalisation completely, for a ‘pure’ mode, when listening conditions are optimal, as in a home theatre setting.”

Netflix says that adding dynamic range control to the mix boosts the listening experience even when you’re streaming TV shows and movies. It says the softest details of programs are boosted enough to ensure they’ll be audible when background noise is present.

If you’re struggling to grasp some of these concepts, Netflix sums up: “So the next time you experience The Crown, get ready to be immersed and not have to reach out to the volume control or grab your earbuds.”

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