The cinema-like experience will completely immerse you in your TV show or movie
Apple’s Spatial Audio feature promises to provide users with a “leading” sound experience that gives the impression of sound surrounding listeners in a 3D space. So far, the tech company has only made it available to Apple Music subscribers who listen to specially crafted songs and some TV shows and movies from Apple TV+ or iTunes.
But now it comes to the most popular streaming service in the world, Netflix. When playing content set up with spatial audio, you’ll see an additional option in the iPhone and iPad apps to switch.
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 audio maintains its position in the room. For example, if someone on the left side of the screen is talking, it sounds like the sound is coming from the left. If you turn your head to the left, the audio will begin to filter in your right ear, as it is now closer to the character’s location in physical space.
It sounds very complicated, but in practice Spatial Audio promises to be a cinema-like experience that completely immerses you in the world of your TV show or movie. From footsteps crawling behind you in horror movies, to capturing the energy of shootouts in action movies, we can already see hundreds of ways it will enhance your viewing experience.
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And so far the reviews are positive. One commenter said: “It sounds great with AirPods Max. In particular, a wider soundstage and a real sense of surround.”
Spatial audio is not enabled for all Netflix content, as it depends on how the original sound file was created. Users online have said it works for 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 also plans to bring it to macOS and tvOS in the future, and you can try it out right now if you’re signed up for the latest tvOS 15 beta.
The feature will be available to a small group of users first before a wider release soon. Not sure if you have it? Check the Control Center on your app, where there is a toggle to turn it on and off.
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