Sennheiser Tech Delivers Immersive Spatial Audio for Netflix

Netflix has tapped Sennheiser to bring spatial audio its global subscribers. Netflix says its AMBEO 2-Channel Spatial Audio will work with any speakers and device to help convey a cinematic experience. “Some of the most iconic moments in TV and film are defined by the immersive moments they create through sound,” Netflix said, citing “Eddie Munson’s epic guitar scene in ‘Stranger Things 4,’” the series used to premiere the new technology as part of its development with Sennheiser. “Red Notice,” “The Witcher” and “Resident Evil” are also among the first shows to get the AMBEO upgrade.

In its announcement, Netflix says it will deploy AMBEO across its catalog, which also supports Dolby Atmos, but that “requirements and titles compatible with spatial audio will vary” based on the streaming device, as detailed in the Help Center.

AMBEO delivers a full immersive audio mix in two channels, which allows it to work through standard TV speakers, stereo systems, headphones, tablets and laptops. “As long as your device’s audio output is set to stereo audio, you won’t have to adjust any settings to try AMBEO,” Engadget writes, noting it “could be a solid solution for folks who don’t have sufficient equipment to take advantage of Dolby Atmos and other spatial audio tech.”

Netflix is making AMBEO the default two-channel audio configuration. A “spatial audio” search on Netflix will indicate AMBEO-enabled shows thus far.

“What sets Sennheiser apart from other solutions is that the AMBEO rendering respects the original mix, tonal balance and dialog integrity, which is exactly what the re-recording mixer is looking for,” said AMBEO project leader Renato Pellegrini. According to Engadget, “the processing is in line with Sennheiser’s reputation to deliver tools that are ‘transparent’ and do not interfere with the original sound.”

“Spatial audio is designed to provide theater-like sound from a movie or TV show. Whatever it is you’re watching at home, there will be sounds that appear from all around you,” writes TechCrunch, pointing out that “all subscribers, regardless of which Netflix subscription plan they have, will be able to use spatial audio” via AMBEO.

Surveys show that OTT customers often access content on devices with standard stereo speakers, via mobile while traveling, when casually watching on a tablet, or on living room TVs that don’t have a surround sound set-up. Sennheiser explains that “while in the past these viewers were unable to benefit from the growing amount of music and films produced in Dolby Atmos or MPEG-H Audio, the AMBEO 2-Channel Spatial Audio feature has now changed this.”

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