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Netflix Allegedly Testing Spatial Audio Support for AirPods Pro and AirPods Max

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Netflix is working on adding support for the spatial audio feature built into the AirPods Pro and the AirPods Max, according to a report from French site iPhoneSoft.

Image via iPhoneSoft​

The site says that it spoke to an unnamed Netflix employee in the United States who said that support for spatial audio is in the works.

The rumor has not yet been confirmed by another source as of yet, but iPhoneSoft says that the feature is set to launch in the spring with a "small catalog" of titles to begin with.

Spatial audio is an AirPods Pro and AirPods Max feature that brings movie theater-like sound to Apple's earbuds and headphones, making audio sound three dimensional. Spatial audio uses the gyroscope and accelerometer in the ‌AirPods Pro‌ and iPhone to track the motion of your head and your ‌iPhone‌'s position, comparing the motion data and then remapping the sound field so that it stays anchored to your device even as your head moves around.

It is a feature that works with the iPhone and the iPad, so if Netflix is indeed working on support, it would be limited to Netflix titles viewed on one of Apple's compatible iPhones or tablets.

Article Link: Netflix Allegedly Testing Spatial Audio Support for AirPods Pro and AirPods Max
 

moabal

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2010
488
1,752
Apple really needs to come up with a way to offer this feature on the Apple TV.

Obviously turning your head while watching on your Apple TV would not do anything as the device is stationary. However, if they can have it so you get the surround affect at a fixed point in front of you, it would make the viewing experience better.
 
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aesc80

macrumors 6502a
Mar 24, 2015
808
1,611
Apple really needs to come up with a way to offer this feature on the Apple TV.

Obviously turning your head while watching on your Apple TV would not do anything as the device is stationary. However, if they can have it so you get the surround affect at a fixed point in front of you, it would make the viewing experience better.
I honestly wonder how many people use AirPods / Powerbeats Pros with their AppleTVs. I'm know its something we test for and all, but I just get the feeling the subset of people who do this is really really tiny.
 
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adambadamh

macrumors member
Apr 1, 2011
91
52
Is there anything special for compatibility here. Doesn’t this just mean they are adding a surround file to the iOS stream and the AirPods take it from there?
 
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TheDailyApple

macrumors regular
May 30, 2019
246
780
Someone really needs to come out with a standard for this type of thing. That way any manufacturer that supports virtual surround sound will work with any surround sound content. The 360° audio feature in Sony’s WH1000XM4s is pretty useless because of the lack of support.
 
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MysteryMii215

macrumors regular
Jan 10, 2016
147
297
NYC area
but iPhoneSoft says that the feature is set to launch in the spring with a "small catalog" of titles to begin with.
Why a "small catalog" of titles? Netflix already streams DD+ 5.1 to at least the Razer Phones. Unless they plan on bringing Atmos to mobile (which I doubt they are), I don't see why they have to limit spacial audio to "a small catalog", just have it work on all titles that have surround sound.
 
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Kkspire

macrumors member
May 19, 2016
94
172
I honestly wonder how many people use AirPods / Powerbeats Pros with their AppleTVs. I'm know its something we test for and all, but I just get the feeling the subset of people who do this is really really tiny.
I use my airpods every night watching tv. Other half is sleeping as this allows me to continue watching tv without waking anyone.
 
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agsystems

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2013
1,142
1,076
Is there anything special for compatibility here. Doesn’t this just mean they are adding a surround file to the iOS stream and the AirPods take it from there?
It might be even less than that - maybe a plist equal true entry - I doubt Netflix is re-encoding anything
 
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zoomp

macrumors member
Aug 20, 2010
87
136
I think it's a really easy to be implemented framework. That's how disney+ made it so fast. I guess Netflix is testing it to see if it is up to their "standards" of QA.
 
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Chung123

macrumors regular
Dec 5, 2013
213
87
NYC
Apple really needs to come up with a way to offer this feature on the Apple TV.

Obviously turning your head while watching on your Apple TV would not do anything as the device is stationary. However, if they can have it so you get the surround affect at a fixed point in front of you, it would make the viewing experience better.

It'd be awesome if Apple did this, but the workaround is a Dolby Headphone Processor-Decoder .

Living in an apartment, where a home theater setup isn't practictcal-- Dolby Headphones makes films much more immersive--and you can crank it as loud as you want.

(Dolby Headphone is essentially 5.1 surround encoded into Binaural Sound for playback via headphones. A virtualizer!)

Supposedly, Dolby Headphone has been rolled into Dolby Atmos for Headphones, but don't see it around which is disappointing.

I don't understand why Apple made Spatial Audio work only with the AirPod Pro except to sell the hardware.

You don't really need the sound to change with your head rotation unless they are working on a VR rig or something.
 
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apparatchik

macrumors 6502
Mar 6, 2008
317
790
I honestly wonder how many people use AirPods / Powerbeats Pros with their AppleTVs. I'm know its something we test for and all, but I just get the feeling the subset of people who do this is really really tiny.
I dont know how many we are, but to me its now my default way of watching TV, the sound is better than my TV's audio, and I dont bother other people, I share an apartment with my gf, and as we both work from home nowdays, its so much discreet, etc.

For me it just makes sense. When just one person is watching TV, to be respectful to others and use headphones, specially if you live in an apartment, your neighbors, roommates, significant other, etc. Dont have to deal with a TV sounding in the background, and you can listen to political content, or guilty pop music, or blast thru a FPS without everybody around you knowing what music you like, what game you're playing, etc.

The days of people studying or working or sleeping in their bedroom while TV sound coming as a muffled soundtrack from the living room are over thank god. To me this has been perhaps the greatest benefit of truly wireless earphones and the strongest use case why Im considering buying the airpods max instead of a sound bar for the TV, to have great sound quality on the living room without blasting everybody around me.
 
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Macusercom

macrumors member
Aug 10, 2012
41
70
Vienna, Austria
It shouldn't be too difficult to support it. If iOS recognises an AC3 or E-AC3 stream (Dolby's consumer surround format) in an MP4 or MOV file it is automatically enabled. Depending on how the playback in the app works, it might need a little tinkering by the devs.

Weirdly enough, if an AC3 or E-AC3 stream is inside an MKV container it does not work. If you repackage it to a supported container (note: not re-encoding) Spatial Audio is available again.

What could be however is that Netflix only streams stereo on these devices for data saving purposes and practical use (you won't use your iPad with a surround system) making Spatial Audio unavailable. But I'm glad they consider adding it. From an audio engineer standpoint it really is sort of revolutionary as Apple bringing 3D audio to the mass market though the technology exists for decades now.
 
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CrysisDeu

macrumors member
Sep 16, 2018
97
121
Apple really needs to come up with a way to offer this feature on the Apple TV.

Obviously turning your head while watching on your Apple TV would not do anything as the device is stationary. However, if they can have it so you get the surround affect at a fixed point in front of you, it would make the viewing experience better.
Maybe next-gen Apple TV will get gyro and UWB, then they might support spatial audio.
 
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andyorkney

macrumors newbie
Feb 8, 2010
23
12
I honestly wonder how many people use AirPods / Powerbeats Pros with their AppleTVs. I'm know its something we test for and all, but I just get the feeling the subset of people who do this is really really tiny.
I’m using my AirPods Pro on Apple TV occasionally. If spacial audio was available then it would become a very regular move and the whole household would be doing same so we can set volume to personal taste and decide if we would prefer to isolate in noise cancellation or be socialble in transparency mode.
 
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