Netflix update for Android improves audio quality

Netflix has rolled out an upgrade for its Android app, which improves the sound quality, making it easier to listen to content in noisy environments. Further, it adapts to variable cellular connections as well and scales to studio-quality, according to Netflix.

Thanks to the adoption of the xHE-AAC codec, which was announced earlier this month, Netflix can stream with an audio bit rate that matches the currently available internet speed and minimize buffers. Further, the xHE-AAC codec is compatible with Android mobile devices running Android 9 and higher.

Netflix says the update also helps reduce the dynamic range, which essentially means that users will be able to hear quite content louder over background noise, while the volume of the loud content is brought down, respectively, all without compromising on the audio quality.

“The lessons we have learned while deploying xHE-AAC to Android Mobile devices are not unique — we expect them to apply to other platforms that support the new codec,” Netflix said in a blog post. “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.”

Further, the built-in seamless bit rate switching is said to minimize rebuffers, especially in places where the internet speed is inconsistent. To recall, a similar feature, which Netflix calls adaptive streaming for audio, was added to Netflix TV apps in 2019. “By using adaptive streaming for audio, we allow audio quality to adjust during playback to bandwidth capabilities, just like we do for video,” Netflix explained.

Meanwhile, Netflix has said it will roll out a new Shuffle Play feature globally in the first half of 2021. The feature, when turned on, choose for users the content it thinks they would like to watch, based on the kind of shows or movies they have previously watched or saved to their list.

Netflix started testing the Shuffle Play feature in August last year for its TV app, where a new button labeled “Shuffle Play” showed up beneath a user’s profile icon on the Netflix home screen. The feature is said to shuffle “everything on Netflix” and find things for users to watch based on their tastes.

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