Netflix will deliver its videos with better sound quality in the future. This “High Quality Audio” program already seems to have started.
Nothing changes at the audio codecs themselves. Netflix continues to deliver Dolby Digital Plus multi-channel sound and Dolby Atmos 3D sound (with Dolby Digital Plus as the core). However, the service is pushing up the data rates: According to Netflix, up to 640 Kbps are now available for 5.1 audio and up to 768 Kbps for Dolby Atmos.
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In addition, the transmission is no longer static, but adaptive. For this purpose, the audio / video data is divided into several segments (chunks) each with a few seconds of playing time in different quality levels. The appropriate level will be played depending on the available bandwidth. Data rates for 5.1 and Dolby Atmos can drop to 192 or 448 kBit / s.
Not uninteresting in this context are two comments from Netflix: First, the service notes that the bit rate may also vary depending on the playback device. On the other hand, according to his own statements, he expects that “these bit rates will evolve over time as the efficiency of our coding processes increases.”
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However, the fact that the sound quality of Netflix in the foreseeable future reaches the best possible audio quality for Blu-ray Discs and Ultra HD Blu-rays is not to be expected: Both disc formats 5.1 and 3D sound can also be based on lossless compression ( like Dolby TrueHD).
Dolby Atmos is available on Netflix only for members with a premium subscription.
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