French publication iPhonesoft (via Apple Insider) cited a Netflix employee that revealed work on Spatial Audio began last December. Although they didn’t share a specific release date, the employee confirmed the feature should launch by the spring.
Additionally, the employee told iPhonesoft that Netflix would only support Spatial Audio on a limited catalogue of content.
For those unfamiliar with the feature, Apple debuted Spatial Audio at WWDC 2020 and later rolled it out to users with the iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and macOS Big Sur updates. Spatial Audio uses algorithms to convert surround sound into ‘spatial audio’ and then applies directional audio filters, adjusts frequencies going to each ear and more to achieve an immersive effect.
While using two earbuds won’t be as good as a full surround sound system, Spatial Audio does a lot to improve the sound experience with Apple’s earbuds. You can learn more about Spatial Audio and how to activate the feature here.
One issue with the feature at launch was limited support. The Verge notes that Apple TV, Disney+ and HBO Max (which isn’t available in Canada, but some content is through Bell’s Crave service with the HBO add-on) all supported Spatial Audio back in October.
Hopefully other streaming platforms are also working to add Spatial Audio. The feature goes a long way in making audio feel more immersive when using supported earbuds or headphones.