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
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy 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.