Netflix will make characters’ voices clearer on Android

Netflix continues to improve its streaming platform on mobile devices. The company recently started releasing the new xHE-AAC codec for smartphones and tablets running Android 9.0 or higher.

The novelty promises to bring “studio audio” to the platform, as it manages to optimize quality depending on the internet connection used for streaming. The codec also promises to correct a very common problem when consuming content: the difference in volume between the sound of the voices and the sound effects.

The new codec is available for phones with Android 9.0 or higher.The new codec is available for phones with Android 9.0 or higher.Source: Android Authority

According to Netflix, in addition to improving sound quality, the technology recognizes sound levels more deeply and ensures a better balance when viewing movies and series.

Sound balance

In its blog, the company explains that each production ends up prioritizing certain parts of the audio in the sound mix. In the case of action films, for example, special effects tend to be louder than dialogues, while drama series and novels have more prominent lines.

Netflix's new codec balances the volume level of dialogs automatically.Netflix’s new codec balances the volume level of dialogs automatically.Source: Netflix

The difference in sound between the productions usually bothers users when consuming various content in sequence, according to the company. After all, to hear the dialogues of an action movie after watching a soap opera, it is necessary to increase the volume, but without exaggerating, as the explosions are quite loud.

Using volume control and range compression (DRC) techniques, Netflix’s new codec is able to automatically balance audio levels to improve playback on mobile devices. Thus, all dialogues are reproduced in the same decibel range, ensuring a more comfortable experience when using streaming on the cell phone.

Background noise

The Netflix tool detects background sounds and improves audio playback.The Netflix tool detects background sounds and improves audio playback.Source: Netflix

The new technology also takes into account a very common reality on smartphones: background noises. The company explains that not all Netflix users watch content on mobile devices with headphones and ambient sounds can disrupt audio consumption.

According to the company, dynamic range compression can improve the reproduction of even secondary noises on mobile devices with limited audio hardware. Thus, when the user is in a crowded or noisy environment, the application will balance the audio to ensure that the main parts of the work are audible.

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