Netflix gets a huge spatial audio upgrade, but not from Apple

Netflix spatial audio
(Image credit: Netflix)

If you like your movies in surround sound, then you're going to love that Netflix is offering the spatial audio standard on more of its titles. What you're unlikely to enjoy is that you'll need to pay for the premium 4K subscription. That is $20 a month, which, compared to other streaming services, is a lot.

Variety reported that Netflix would be bringing support for Spatial Audio last summer. It's designed to be used with any existing stereo speakers, bringing 360-degree immersive audio to even the lowliest of laptop speakers.

This Spatial Audio isn't from Apple

Apple where the first to coin the term 'Spatial Audio', using some very clever programming to place audio all around the listener. Several other companies now offer a Spatial audio offering, and Netflix is going to use a standard developed by Sennhieser, called the AMBEO 2-channel Spatial Audio.

Netflix is releasing 700 or so movies in the Spatial Audio standard, and a small number will be available to users in the non-premium streaming tier. As said up top, however, you're going to need the most expensive option to get all of them. In a blog post on Netflix's website, Director of Product Management Rishu Arora said:

"Netflix’s Premium plan already offers the highest quality viewing experience, with beautiful, crisp, 4K HDR video resolution without ads, the ability to watch and download series and films on four supported devices at a time, and more. Now, with Netflix spatial audio, our members with Premium will enjoy the highest quality sound experience available, whether they are watching at home on TV or a computer, or on the go with a phone or tablet."

If you'd like to find out what Netflix's version of Spatial Audio sounds like, you can check out the video below. It, like Spatial audio on Netflix itself, will work with any speakers or headphones.

You can still use Apple's spatial audio with Netflix, so you'll get in on the AirPods 3, AirPods Pro 2, and the AirPods Max as well as others like the Beats Fit Pro. You just need a compatible device like an iPhone, an iPad, or an Apple TV. Make sure that your spatial audio setting is turned on, and you're good to go.

Tammy Rogers
Buying Guides and Deals Writer

As the Buying Guides and Deals writer for iMore, Tammy puts over a decade of experience in finding the best prices of Apple products to work, helping you save money on the equipment that you want. An audiophile at heart, she loves all things audio and visual, but you’ll also find her drooling over the latest Macs and MacBooks. With a Masters in screenwriting, Tammy likes to spend her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays or driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.