Netfix adds spatial audio to its range of original series and movies

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enlarge Eddie Munson plays guitar in Weird stuff season 4.

Netflix

Netflix has partnered with Sennheiser to bring spatial audio to the streaming service’s original programming, including the recently released Weird stuff season 4.

“Spatial audio is rolling out to our catalog starting today, and you can hear it for yourself by typing ‘spatial audio’ into the search bar and selecting a show or movie that supports it from the search results,” says a Netflix blog post. The feature uses Sennheiser’s Ambeo technology.

Spatial audio involves arranging all sound sources in a model 360-degree sound field around the listener’s position (in some cases, it also includes vertical spatial positioning). Spatial audio then uses that data to deliver sound to various devices, including TV speakers or headphones that typically only provide stereo sound rather than a traditional multi-channel surround setup.

It’s been seen in many consumer devices before, from Apple’s AirPods to Sony’s PlayStation 5.

While spatial audio through stereo headphones doesn’t quite match what you’d get with a robust surround sound system in your home theater, it generally offers a noticeable improvement in immersion in situations where you don’t have a full surround setup.

Until then, spatial audio is automatically enabled when using forward stereo audio. However, Netflix still recommends using 5.1 surround sound or Dolby Atmos if you have actual surround sound speakers.

Netflix previously supported spatial audio on specific Apple headphones, including AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, Beats Fit Pro, and third-generation AirPods, provided the viewer watches on streaming hardware that also supports it, such as the Apple TV 4K or the most recent iPhone or iPad models.

The addition of Sennheiser Ambeo support brings that feature to non-Apple devices, albeit in a different implementation.