Since sound is an essential part of movies and series, it’s frustrating when you can’t fully immerse yourself in a story thanks to some bad speakers. Perhaps the people who suffer the most are the viewers who have to consume their content through an Android smartphone, which obviously cannot compete with background noise. A problem that I haven’t really encountered much when listening with my headphones, but it is still an issue that a lot of people apparently deal with.
To solve this dilemma, Netflix has finally brought its xHE-AAC codec to its mobile app, which will “improve intelligibility in noisy environments, adapt to variable mobile connections, and scale to studio quality” on Android devices , having been available on iPhones and TV apps since 2019. This essentially means that Netflix has found a way to reduce buffering to make audio sound better, especially against background noise.
Netflix has already produced some rather innovative video codecs that allow content to be buffered seamlessly than other streaming services, but this new update shows similar advancements in audio. In the blog post, the company revealed how the xHE-AAC codec provides better Dynamic Range Control (DRC), a technology that reduces the difference between the loudest and quietest parts of a show. Silent content is made louder and loud content is reduced to avoid clipping. Something not that uncommon, but Netflix claims to have found a way to do this without sacrificing audio quality in the equation, which is a remarkable achievement.
Along with DRC, this new codec also supports “seamless bitrate switching,” which means it should work better in environments with inconsistent internet speeds. It’s a shame Android phones haven’t had this for so long, but nice to finally see them get some feature parity with iPhones and provide a better listening experience for Android users.
Last updated: January 27, 2021