Listen to this: Netflix is hoping audiophiles will upgrade to the $20-per-month Premium tier to gain access to the streamer’s full collection of content that supports spatial audio.
Netflix initially announced support for theater-like spatial audio — using existing stereo speakers — last summer. Spatial audio, in theory, provides a 360-degree audio experience, including reproducing sounds that are designed to come from behind the viewer.
Netflix announced that spatial audio is now available on more than 700 of its most-watched titles, including “Stranger Things,” “The Watcher,” “Wednesday” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” It also plans to add spatial audio to popular new titles as they’re released, including “You,” “Your Place or Mine,” “Luther: The Fallen Sun” and “Tour de France.” To see the full list of titles with spatial audio, users can search the term “spatial audio” on Netflix.
However, the expanded list of movies and TV shows with spatial audio is available only on Netflix Premium, the company’s most expensive plan. Customers who have Standard or Basic service will have spatial audio moving forward “but only on a small, select number of titles,” according to Netflix.
“Netflix’s Premium plan already offers the highest-quality viewing experience,” Rishu Arora, director of product management, said in a blog post. “Now, with Netflix spatial audio, our members with Premium will enjoy the highest-quality sound experience available, whether they are watching at home on TV or a computer, or on the go with a phone or tablet.”
Spatial audio “is a game changer for the Premium plan viewing experience,” Arora added, which brings another high-end feature to the tier in addition to 4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos and Netflix Calibrated Mode.
Netflix’s spatial audio can be reproduced via the built-in stereo speakers on any device; that said, according to the company, its support of spatial audio is primarily optimized for laptops and tablets. The streamer launched spatial audio using Sennheiser’s AMBEO 2-Channel Spatial Audio, which translates original immersive mixes into two-channel audio.
Meanwhile, Netflix also is upping the number of download devices available to Premium plan members, from four to six devices total, letting you download and watch a selection of titles in offline mode. Netflix’s Standard plan allows just two devices at a time to download content; the Basic tier provides just a single device; and the new Basic With Ads plan does not provide any download capability.
Here’s a video from Netflix that is supposed to let you “hear the magic of spatial audio” in clips from “6 Underground,” the 2019 action-thriller starring Ryan Reynolds, and “Stranger Things 4”:
Pictured above: Jenna Ortega as Goody Addams in Netflix’s “Wednesday”
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