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TV & streaming

Netflix for Android just got a big upgrade – here’s how to use it

Streaming services make it easy to get all of the content you’re looking for without the high cost of a cable subscription. They’ve really come in handy during the pandemic.

But while there are plenty of streaming services to choose from, you may not know which one works best for you. There are tons of different options, from Netflix to Hulu and even lesser-known services that recently rolled out. Want to save even more money? Tap or click here for money-saving streaming pro tips.

Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services around, and it just got an upgrade on Android. So, if you’re looking for a way to cut the cord, you might want to know about this new change. Here’s what’s new and improved for Netflix on Android.

Netflix improvements for Android

Watching Netflix on your Android phone? You may notice a change in the audio quality — and no, it’s not your mind playing tricks on you.

Netflix recently upgraded its Android app to stream audio in xHE-AAC (which is extended HE-AAC with MPEG-D DRC). By doing this, you’ll get consistent, studio-quality sound when your connection is strong. Even cooler? It will scale back on that top-notch sound when connections are spotty to keep your streaming going strong.

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That variable bitrate format will be useful when you’re on cellular data and not connected to Wi-Fi. You won’t have to deal with buffering due to the streaming and studio sound competing for bandwidth during unsteady connections. You’ll get the scaled back audio automatically instead.

There are other awesome sound-related features to note with the upgrade, too. One of the other new audio features worth noting is loudness management, which prevents those unwelcome volume changes when you switch shows or genres.

For example, if you switch from streaming a drama or a rom-com to the “Fast and Furious” series, you won’t end up with volume issues that would normally come with it. In other words, you won’t jump out of your chair when switching from quiet to extremely loud as you hop from mellow shows to loud action movies.

The loudness management feature offers other perks, too. On top of adjusting for the show’s genre, it also compensates for noisy environments so that they don’t interfere with the dialogue on your show. You’ll be able to listen to your show on your phone’s speaker in a noisy environment without missing every other word.

How to get the new audio upgrade

If you want to take advantage of these new features, you’ll need to make sure you’re using at least Android 9 Pi. Otherwise, the xHE-AAC audio upgrade won’t work.

If you’re running a recent operating system, the upgrades should be ready to go on your Android device. You can use it to stream shows on the go, in your bed or anywhere else you may want to watch a show on your Android device.

Related: Cut the cord: Best streaming options for $20, $30 and $50 per month

And, the new features mean you won’t need earbuds in noisy environments. If the kids are making all kinds of noise, but you don’t want to wear earbuds, these audio upgrades should make it possible.

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