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Netflix’s new high-quality audio adjusts to match your

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DiscoverGold   Friday, 05/03/19 04:21:01 PM
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Netflix’s new high-quality audio adjusts to match your internet speeds
By: The Verge | May 1, 2019

Higher bitrates, and better scaling to match

Netflix is rolling out an upgrade to its audio streaming technology that increases the maximum bitrate of its audio and allows it to adjust based on the speed of your internet connection. The streaming service’s new high-quality audio increases the maximum bitrate of a 5.1 audio mix to 640 kbps, and a Dolby Atmos mix to 768 kbps. The bitrate will also scale based on your internet speed, and can drop as low as 192 kbps in order to stop the video from having to buffer.

The streaming service has used this adaptive approach before for its video feeds, which adjust dynamically to prevent them from cutting out. However, until now, the bitrate of a show’s audio has been determined at the beginning of a stream, with no option to adjust it once it has started. That could mean you’re stuck with lower-quality audio when your internet connection has more capacity, or a show has to buffer because it’s stuck on a higher bitrate.

Even at Netflix’s maximum 5.1 audio bitrate of 640 kbps, it’s still compressing the audio a lot compared to the 24-bit / 48 kHz mastering sample frequency. But Netflix chose this bitrate because it believes it’s indistinguishable from the lossless master track, and hence you’d see no benefit from a higher bitrate. It adds that, over time, it expects these bitrates to change based on how efficient its encoders become.

Netflix’s new high-quality audio is launching today.

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