A little bird from within Netflix has informed the French website, iPhoneSoft, that the streaming company is working on building spatial audio support for a "small" catalog of featured content, MacRumors reports.
This support will be an excellent option for people who own AirPods Pro and the AirPods Max, which come with spatial audio abilities. The employee told iPhoneSoft that the feature could go live as soon as spring of this year.
Apple's head tracking technology allows AirPods Pro and Max users to experience audio on a different and much more engaging level. At the moment, the only services that provide support for the feature are Apple TV+, Disney+, and HBO Max.
What is spatial audio and why should I care? — Spatial audio is manna for the ears. Conventionally, you have the main options of stereo and surround sound. With stereo and surround sound, you are still relying on audio production that has a fixed speaker setup. It's not to say stereo and surround sound can't be fun and entertaining but that it's somewhat limited in its nature.
With spatial audio, you get an immersive and intense emulation of real-world sounds, like bullets flying past you, water cascading down a foundation, pedestrians walking down a sidewalk, a door slamming shut behind you, a violin played to your left, a glass breaking to your right, and other instances. You get the idea. A horror film could become even scarier, a dramatic series could get a lot more thrilling, and more, with spatial audio.
Do it, Netflix — If the streaming service indeed goes ahead with building spatial audio support for listeners with AirPods Pro, you will get to watch a catalog of titles while being able to pinpoint exactly where the sounds are coming from. The power (and beauty) of spatial audio is that it attempts to emulate acoustics and make the mind envision it in 3D as if it was all happening around you, not only on your screen. You can thank the Human Related Transfer Function (HRTF) filters in these buds for that experience.
Of course, all of this is speculation at the moment. We can't say for certain if Netflix is seriously experimenting with the idea. But if it asks for our two cents, we think adding spatial audio support will tilt the streaming wars heavily in Netflix's favor. Now, why wouldn't Ted Sarandos want that?