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Latest Netflix update aims to make your phone’s speakers sound better

A new codec means less time spent adjusting the volume on your phone.
News
By
January 25, 2021
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TL;DR
  • The Netflix Android app includes a new audio codec called xHE-AAC.
  • You won’t have to adjust your phone’s volume as frequently when watching shows and movies.
  • You’ll need a phone with Android 9 Pie and above to take advantage of the codec.

If you frequently find yourself watching Netflix on your phone, you may notice shows and movies sound better the next time you launch the company’s Android app. That’s because Netflix has added support for an audio codec called xHE-AAC that the company says brings a couple of advantages with it.

The most notable one is that you’ll end up adjusting the volume between shows and individual scenes much less frequently thanks to a technology that’s built into the codec called dynamic range control. It makes quiet scenes louder and loud scenes quieter, so that you don’t get the type of jarring changes in loudness that make you scramble for your phone’s volume controls. The volume of dialogue is also kept consistent between different shows and movies. As a result of these changes, you should be able to watch something on Netflix without struggling to hear the sound coming from your phone’s speakers.

Related: Everything you need to know about Netflix

The codec can also seamlessly adjust the bitrate of any audio to reduce the need for rebuffering if you’re on a congested wireless network, thereby reducing choppy audio and interruptions. Conversely, Netflix says xHE-AAC can also scale to “studio-quality” given the correct conditions.

You’ll need a phone with Android 9 Pie and above to use xHE-ACC. If you want to read more about how the technology works in more detail, you can read a full breakdown on Netflix’s blog.