Upgrading Netflix makes your favourite reveals even higher … however solely when you’ve got AirPods
Apple’s spatial audio function promises users an “industry-leading” sound experience that creates the impression of surrounding the listener in a 3D space. So far, the tech company has only made it available to Apple Music subscribers who listen to custom-made tracks, as well as some TV series and movies from Apple TV + or iTunes.
But now it comes to the world’s most popular streaming service, Netflix. If you’re playing content that has been set up with spatial audio, you’ll see an additional option to toggle in the iPhone and iPad apps.
The Netflix feature only works if you’re using an iPhone or iPad and the AirPods Pro or AirPods Max. This is because spatial audio uses the gyroscope and accelerometer in Apple’s earbuds to make it sound like the audio is coming from many different directions.
It even tracks your head position so the audio keeps its position in the room. For example, if someone is speaking on the left side of the screen, the sound will sound like it’s coming from the left. Turning your head to the left will start filtering the audio into your right ear as it is now closer to the character’s position in physical space.
It sounds very complicated, but in practice, Spatial Audio promises a cinema-like experience that will completely immerse you in the world of your TV show or movie. From footprints sneaking behind you in horror films to capturing the energy of shootouts in action films, we already see hundreds of ways this will improve your eyesight.
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And so far the reviews have been positive. One commenter said, “It sounds great with AirPods Max. Remarkably wider soundstage and a true surround feel.”
Spatial audio is not enabled for all Netflix content as it depends on how the original sound file was created. Online users have mentioned that it works for the sit-com community, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and a number of original and blockbuster films.
Spatial audio is already available on Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, and HBO Max. However, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube are still waiting to roll it out. Apple plans to bring it to macOS and tvOS in the future too, and you’ll be able to try it out already if you’ve signed up for the latest beta version of tvOS 15.
The feature will initially be available to a small group of users before a broader version is released shortly. Not sure if you have it? Check the control center in your app, where there is a switch to turn it on and off.