Netflix now supports spatial audio on select content

Mike Wheatley

Netflix has finally added support for spatial audio with a number of its original movies and shows.


The streaming giant announced it has teamed up with the audio firm Sennheiser to deliver more immersive sound to shows including Stranger Things season 4 and The Witcher. The company said its spatial audio is compatible with all devices and streaming plans, and does not require specialised surround sound speakers or home theatre equipment.

Spatial audio is a feature that converts regular stereo sound into expansive, three-dimensional audio that aims to replicate the experience of watching a movie in the cinema. It works best with compatible headphones and earbuds, such as Apple’s AirPods Pro, however Netflix claims that it’s even able to improve the quality of sound in standard TV speakers and laptops.

Netflix confirmed that spatial audio is now the default for any two-channel usage, with no user changes required. For now though it will only work for select content. For those who already have a surround sound speaker system, they’ll still enjoy Dolby Atmos or a regular 5.1 channel track.

The addition of spatial support means yet more options for Netflix users. The company previously added support for Apple’s spatial audio format last year, though that system only works with AirPods Pro, AirPods Max and AirPods 3 on Apple TV 4K, Mac, iPad and iPhone devices. On the other hand, it does work with a much broader range of content - any title that’s available in 5.1, 7.1 or Dolby Atmos, since the audio processing is done on the device.

With Sennheiser, Netflix is taking a different approach, creating a dedicated audio track in spatial audio format. It does this with the assistance of Sennheiser’s AMBEO 2-channel Spatial Audio tech.

“What sets Sennheiser apart from other solutions is that the AMBEO rendering respects the original mix, tonal balance and dialog integrity, which is exactly what the re-recording mixer is looking for," said Sennheiser’s Dr. Renato Pellegrini.

The company further explained that its renderer translates original sound streams into a 2-channel audio with spatial experience that goes “far beyond stereo”. Sennheiser added that it’s a “drop-in replacement for stereo”.

As mentioned, one of the first titles to offer spatial audio will be the latest season of Stranger Things, with others including The Adam Project, The Witcher, Red Notice, Interceptor, Kate, Raising Dion, Locke & Key, Castlevania, The Unforgivable, The Haunting of Bly Manor and The Order.

To see the full list of spatial audio-capable content on Netflix, users can type “spatial audio” into the search bar and everything will be revealed. Note there’s no need to adjust any settings, as the default audio output on compatible shows and movies is set to stereo audio.

The launch of spatial audio on Netflix has been long awaited, and finally brings the service into line with rival platforms such as Disney+, Apple TV+, Hulu and HBO Max.