Don’t be surprised if Netflix sounds nicer the next time you marathon a show on your Android phone. Netflix has upgraded its Android app to stream audio in xHE-AAC (Extended HE-AAC with MPEG-D DRC; yes, it’s a mouthful), promising “studio-quality” sound that’s also more consistent — that is, you should enjoy it in more places.
The new format offers a variable bitrate that can improve audio quality when your connection allows, and scale back when you’re on a flaky cellular link. Loudness management, meanwhile, prevents jarring volume changes (think of jumping from an action movie to a quiet drama) and compensates for noisy environments without the risk of clipping the loudest sounds. You could listen on your phone’s speakers without struggling to understand dialogue.