Netflix update makes your Android phone’s crappy speakers sound better

Netflix has detailed an improve to its Android app which ought to cut back buffering and make audio sound higher and simpler to listen to over background noise. It’s been made potential due to the adoption of the xHE-AAC codec, which a Netflix blog post says ought to “enhance intelligibility in noisy environments, adapt to variable mobile connections, and scale to studio-quality.” Netflix’s use of the codec was announced earlier this month, and is obtainable on units working Android 9 and above.

xHE-AAC makes use of metadata to unravel just a few totally different audio issues folks have when watching reveals on cellular units. Netflix explains that is typically an issue of loud background noise making content material exhausting to listen to, mixed with weak and tinny telephone audio system that sound dangerous if you attempt to put up the quantity. Inconsistent dialogue ranges additionally imply you must continually flip your quantity up and down between reveals.

Netflix says xHE-AAC affords higher Dynamic Vary Management, a know-how that reduces the distinction between the loudest and quietest components of a present. Quiet content material is made louder so you may hear it over background noise, and the quantity of loud content material is introduced down to stop clipping, all in idea with out sacrificing audio high quality. Netflix additionally says that the quantity of dialogue is stored constant between reveals.

Earlier than: The quantity of dialogue ranges (the black bars) are inconsistent, and broad dynamic vary means content material will get quiet and probably exhausting to listen to.
Picture: Netflix

After: Dynamic vary lowered, so audio can’t get too quiet or too loud, and dialogue quantity normalized.
Picture: Netflix

Lastly, the codec additionally helps “seamless bitrate switching,” which implies it ought to work higher in environments with inconsistent web speeds. Netflix added comparable adaptive bitrate performance to its TV apps back in 2019.

Netflix says that person testing has demonstrated the advantages of the codec. Quantity modifications between content material are “noticeably down” and viewers swap away from utilizing their telephone’s built-in audio system 7 % much less typically with the brand new codec. Netflix says it hopes to deliver the codec to different platforms that help it. For these protecting observe, iPhones have supported xHE-AAC since the release of iOS 13 in 2019.

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