Netflix is now introducing support for the xHE-AAC (Extended HE-AAC with MPEG-D DRC) audio codec to deliver studio-quality audio on Android devices, after rolling out an audio-only mode late last year.
In order to provide a smoother listening experience on smartphones running Android 9.0 Pie or higher, the new codec can provide enhanced intelligibility in noisy environments, scale audio to studio quality, and conform to varying cellular connections.
The codec offers improved dynamic range control and loudness management to deliver consistent audio quality across titles and greater intelligibility in crowded conditions, according to a recent blog post from the streaming service. It also facilitates smooth bitrate switching, which improves when ample bandwidth is required to deliver studio-quality audio and scale back on a choppy network link.
Following Observations were made in this audio quality:
- At a high level, xHE-AAC with default loudness and DRC settings showed improved consumer engagement on Android mobile.
- Overall, time-weighted volume levels of xHE-AAC were lower and fewer users had the volume at maximum levels. This meant that fewer users were dissatisfied with the overall volume level.
- Volume change interactions were noticeably down for xHE-AAC, indicating that DRC did a good job of managing the volume changes within shows.
- Users switched away from built-in speakers 7% less often when listening to xHE-AAC. When the content was high dynamic range, they switched 16% less.
As previously stated, on Android devices running Android 9.0 Pie and above, xHE-AAC support will be available. You can upgrade to the new Netflix release if you have a compatible system by following the link below and see if you find any change in the quality of the audio.