It appears that NETFLIX is pushing its sonic delivery to greater heights, just as rumors of more high resolution streaming options start to swirl. Are we standing on the threshold for an audiophile revival?
Oddly enough, it appears that the move to varying rates of either 640 kbps for Dolby 5.1 or 768 kbps for Atmos came not from consumer feedback (see: XM radio) but rather content creators like the Duffer Brothers of Stranger Things fame. Those who want to take a deeper dive into the technical specifics can reference Netflix’s post here. Among the nifty graphs and polished explanations lies a few interesting claims, including the increasingly popular term “studio quality” defined as 24-bit, 48kHz and the use of “perceptually transparent” defined as lossless 640 kbps and above.
While the merits of higher quality resolutions will forever be a hot button of audiophile discussion, the interest here is notable. The reasons for the change are undeniably hifi in nature (mentioned as a crispness in the above video), but does even the mere call to action here signal a second coming of audiophile pursuits to the general masses? Perhaps the savior of the hobby won’t come from personal audio as so many have hoped, but rather the widening bandwidth of streaming capabilities tugging on the heartstrings of those who simply want “the best”. Only time will tell, but the move here is a welcome one on this writer’s part.
Of course those who want it will have to pay for it. You need the decoding gear on the receiving end and the Atmos compatibility lies squarely in Netflix’s premium tier. On top of that the signal is adaptive, so you will need a robust feed to pipe all that information through. But all things considered, still an interesting blip to see another group of individuals try to explain what it is we do here.
The new service upgrade starts as of today – happy listening.