Netflix is rolling out an upgrade to its audio streaming technology to increase the bitrate and let it alter based on the user's Internet connection. It has now increased its maximum bitrate range for 5.1-channel audio ranging from 192kbps up to 640kbps. Furthermore, it revised its Dolby Atmos bitrates and increased the highest offering to 768kbps. The bitrates will drop or scale based on your Internet speed, and this adaptive audio method will allow users to stream content on Netflix without buffer.
In a blog post, Netflix says that it has been looking to make improvements to its audio streaming technology for a while. After receiving feedback of audio issues with Stranger Things 2 streaming by Duffer brothers, Netflix started to find a way to solve the audible degradation in some scenes. This new adaptive high-quality audio method was devised and is now rolling out to Netflix users, replacing the static audio technology that was used up until now.
Netflix, in its testing, found that static audio streaming can lead to suboptimal playback experiences with fluctuating network conditions. Adaptive audio will allow audio quality to adjust during playback to bandwidth capabilities, just like it's been doing for video streaming since a while now. The bitrate switches from good to "perceptually transparent" automatically to provide better sound experience in faulty network conditions as well.
The company says that its new adaptive audio algorithm feature can be enabled on a wide variety of devices with different CPU, network, and memory profiles, but it doesn't detail the devices it may not be supported on.