Watching movies when using Netflix on Android is about to get better thanks to a new audio codec that supposedly brings “studio-quality” auditory experiences on mobile.

Netflix confirmed in a recent blog post that support has been added for the Extended HE-AAC with MPEG-D DRC or xHE-AAC audio codec, which is where the bold “studio-quality” claim arises from (h/t XDA). This new audio codec should mean that devices running Android 9 Pie or higher will benefit from improved “intelligibility in noisy environments.”

The codec is said to provide better overall loudness management, which means that when watching content in noisy environments, you’ll have increased overall clarity and a more consistent experience, no matter the genre you’re enjoying, using the Netflix Android app.

Thanks to seamless bitrate switching, Netflix on Android can deliver supposed “studio-quality audio” as bandwidth is allotted where necessary to improve the audio experience. It will scale automatically depending on your network connection and conditions to ensure optimum listening when streaming.

It’s not clear how this affects downloaded content from Netflix, as the original blog post does not mention if the xHE-AAC audio codec is available when watching offline content on your mobile. The only issue we can foresee will be the quality and consistency of your headphones or device speakers. Your overall audio experience with Netflix on Android will be heavily determined by headphone and speaker quality.

Netflix found that on average people switched to using headphones 7% less thanks to the new codec, which sounds good but really isn’t all that impressive all things considered. However, the xHE-AAC codec should at least mean that when streaming videos from Netflix on your Android device, you don’t need to be at full volume quite as consistently to hear your favorite shows and movies.

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Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: