Netflix updates its Android app with xHE-AAC for more stable audio with "studio quality"

Netflix announces an improvement in the audio quality of its content with the Android mobile app. It will improve quality in noisy environments and adapt the variable connection with the HE-AAC codec.

Netflix is aware that more and more users are accessing its contents through the mobile phone. The pandemic has forced consumption at home through TVs, but the streaming content platform continues to work on its mobile app and create cheaper and more exclusive subscription plans for these devices.

Last year Netflix re-encoded its entire catalog with 4K quality and HDR and HFR support against the threat of a new quarantine, the goal was to preserve image quality using lower bandwidth if connections were saturated again. A similar proposal now reaches the audio section.

On its tech blog, Netflix announces an update for the Android mobile app. It will use the xHE-AAC (Extended High-Efficiency AAC), a format that allows for more efficient understanding. Netflix says this change will improve intelligibility in noisy environments and scale to "studio quality."

Optimizing the Aural Experience on Android Devices with the-AAC | by Netflix Technology Blog | Jan 2021 | Netflix TechBlog

This new format offers a variable bitrate with which audio quality can be improved when the connection allows it. Similarly, bits are reduced when the cell phone encounters an unstable connection. In the face of these fluctuations, the sound would not lose as much quality and also know how to regulate the volume.

Imagine moving from an action scene to a moment of calm in which the characters whisper, usually here we would have a hard time adapting to that sudden change of sound. With the-AAC, these changes are reduced so we don't miss any details of the dialogue. Noisy environments are also compensated.

Users who want to enjoy this update will need to have Android 9 Pie or later versions. Most users may continue to enjoy the sound their TVs offer at home, but this enhancement focuses on customers who consume Netflix movies and TV shows on the way to work or individually from their rooms.

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