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Audio quality: Netflix on Apple TV 4K

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  • Sep 6th, 2020 11:51 am
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Audio quality: Netflix on Apple TV 4K

I can't seem to get decent sounding audio using Netflix on my 4K Apple TV. The audio seems to be muffled/quiet and lacks depth (I am not doing a great job at describing it but you don't get that home theater "oomph" effect like I do with other devices). I even tried changing the speaker level settings and EQ settings on my receiver with no major improvements. I am running a 5.2.2 set up (2 atmos and 2 subs). Apple TV is set to pass uncompressed audio to the receiver and and the receiver is not applying any additional encoding. Not sure if anyone else has experienced the same or has any insights?

When I play movies directly from Apple TV+, audio is stellar! Also, using Netflix on other devices (Xbox, PS4) that are connected to the same receiver results in amazing audio.

Any thoughts?
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What receiver are you using?

The ATV is going to the receiver and then the TV or vice versa?

Is the receiver displaying DD+ when playing Netflix audio?

How do other streaming services sound?

If you have a Mac, you can enable developer settings to see the audio and video bit rates.
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I have mine set to TV Audio (HDMI) even though it’s hooked up to my receiver. Haven’t had any issues with Netflix myself.
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AFAIK, audio on Apple TV Netflix is DD+ 5.1 up to 640 Kbps, but often lower, unless it's an Atmos stream which is up to 768 Kbps.

So nowhere near lossless.
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The Apple TV never sends DD+ to a receiver AFAIK. The signal is decoded internally and sent as multichannel PCM.
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audit13 wrote: What receiver are you using?

The ATV is going to the receiver and then the TV or vice versa?

Is the receiver displaying DD+ when playing Netflix audio?

How do other streaming services sound?

If you have a Mac, you can enable developer settings to see the audio and video bit rates.
It's a Denon AVR-S730H set up in 5.2.2. Apple TV and my projector are both connected by HDMI to the receiver. Audio on the projector is completely disabled and all audio is managed by the receiver.

It does display Atmos/DD on the receiver when it's playing Atmos/DD supported Netflix content. My receiver is set to "Direct" input so it's not applying any additional encoding.

Other third party streaming apps sound about "average" at best. However, when I play content directly from Apple TV native apps (for ex: Apple TV +), it sounds great. Also, Netflix on my Xbox and PS4 sound great as well.

Unfortunately, I don't have a Mac anymore.
Devhux wrote: I have mine set to TV Audio (HDMI) even though it’s hooked up to my receiver. Haven’t had any issues with Netflix myself.
Hmm interesting. Do you notice a difference in sound when playing Apple TV native apps vs. third party apps (Netflix, Youtube, etc.)?
EugW wrote: AFAIK, audio on Apple TV Netflix is DD+ 5.1 up to 640 Kbps, but often lower, unless it's an Atmos stream which is up to 768 Kbps.

So nowhere near lossless.
Content I am playing is Atmos so technically the bitrate should be higher. It just sounds really bland and no where it should be.
audit13 wrote: The Apple TV never sends DD+ to a receiver AFAIK. The signal is decoded internally and sent as multichannel PCM.
As Apple TV detected Atmos support on it's own (as it's hooked up to an Atmos receiver), I just set the Atmos mode to "On" in Apple TV settings. The option to "Change Format" in audio settings is disabled which is allowing audio to passed as-is without any manipulation. It's just interesting how the sound is sub-par with third party streaming apps, but works perfectly with native Apple TV apps.
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Your receiver should not be displaying DD when playing any content from the Apple TV.

I have my Apple TV hooked up to an anthem receiver and they all sound great.
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My Yamaha receiver always says it’s receiving a PCM audio stream when playing back anything from my Apple TV 4K. Only thing that seems to change is the number of channels.
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audit13 wrote: Your receiver should not be displaying DD when playing any content from the Apple TV.
Ah sorry I stand corrected. It says "Direct" on the front display but there's a tiny Dolby logo on the top (I am guessing this is to indicate what the current output is?). Anyhow, it displays the same thing on other devices and streaming apps with excellent audio. Just no clue why Netflix on Apple TV is not cutting it...
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tapanpatel88 wrote: Ah sorry I stand corrected. It says "Direct" on the front display but there's a tiny Dolby logo on the top (I am guessing this is to indicate what the current output is?). Anyhow, it displays the same thing on other devices and streaming apps with excellent audio. Just no clue why Netflix on Apple TV is not cutting it...
It says direct for all streaming services?

I get DD+ from my TV and multichannel pcm from my Apple tv and they both sound the same to me on all apps and all apps sound great.
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I agree. On my 4th gen non4k appletv netflix is really quiet. I have the dynamic range set to reduced on the app and it's still really quiet. My receiver is usually at -33 for netflix and -42 for crave and prime. It wouldn't surprise me if apple botched the app because netflix refused to integrate with the appletv app.
It's since been fixed but for a long time netflix would frequently hang on this appletv. I would have to unplug the appletv to get it to restart.
I much prefer the netflix experience on my 3rd gen appletv.
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audit13 wrote: It says direct for all streaming services?

I get DD+ from my TV and multichannel pcm from my Apple tv and they both sound the same to me on all apps and all apps sound great.
Yup, it says Direct. And the moment you play any Atmos/DDenabled content on Apple TV (any native/aftermarket app), the display switches to Atmos/DD depending on the content. It's the same behavior with any device (Xbox, PS4, PC, etc.). And of course, I have the ability to change the output in my receiver (stereo, DD, Atmos, All, etc.)
CameraBill wrote: I agree. On my 4th gen non4k appletv netflix is really quiet. I have the dynamic range set to reduced on the app and it's still really quiet. My receiver is usually at -33 for netflix and -42 for crave and prime. It wouldn't surprise me if apple botched the app because netflix refused to integrate with the appletv app.
It's since been fixed but for a long time netflix would frequently hang on this appletv. I would have to unplug the appletv to get it to restart.
I much prefer the netflix experience on my 3rd gen appletv.
Ahh, I am glad I am not the only one then. I haven't checked but I am not sure if there are any audio settings in the Netflix app? I thought the settings were only on Apple TV. I need to look again.
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tapanpatel88 wrote: Yup, it says Direct. And the moment you play any Atmos/DDenabled content on Apple TV (any native/aftermarket app), the display switches to Atmos/DD depending on the content. It's the same behavior with any device (Xbox, PS4, PC, etc.). And of course, I have the ability to change the output in my receiver (stereo, DD, Atmos, All, etc.)



Ahh, I am glad I am not the only one then. I haven't checked but I am not sure if there are any audio settings in the Netflix app? I thought the settings were only on Apple TV. I need to look again.
Does direct mean that the receiver isn't applying sound equalization?
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tapanpatel88 wrote: Correct
Any reason you don't apply sound equalization? I could see but using equalization with an acoustically treated room and matched speakers. I installed acoustic panels, heavy rug, and my Anthem's equalization makes a nice difference for movies.

Maybe bass isn't being directed to the sub?
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audit13 wrote: Any reason you don't apply sound equalization? I could see but using equalization with an acoustically treated room and matched speakers. I installed acoustic panels, heavy rug, and my Anthem's equalization makes a nice difference for movies.

Maybe bass isn't being directed to the sub?
I just want to play the sound directly encoded as-is from the source content without any additional encoding. The same settings on other devices work really well, it's just Apple TV Netflix that seems to be an issue.

Bass is perfectly fine and the 2 subs (one in front and one behind me for that "oomph" effect) do a fantastic job with all other apps and devices.

I refrain from using rugs in my basement due to my dog who refuses to be trained in that area (okay, it's my fault for doing a bad job lol). But sound panels sounds great, I shall definitely look into this.
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tapanpatel88 wrote: Ahh, I am glad I am not the only one then. I haven't checked but I am not sure if there are any audio settings in the Netflix app? I thought the settings were only on Apple TV. I need to look again.
Blurays are typically quiet as well. I think it's because it's making use of the bit resolution of the medium. Like if you listen to orchestral music, it's typically pretty quiet and when it's loud, it gets really loud. As opposed to pop music which is just all loud. Maybe netflix actually has a higher bitrate for the audio.
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Netflix has lower audio and video bit rates than Movies Anywhere or iTunes.
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CameraBill wrote: Blurays are typically quiet as well. I think it's because it's making use of the bit resolution of the medium. Like if you listen to orchestral music, it's typically pretty quiet and when it's loud, it gets really loud. As opposed to pop music which is just all loud. Maybe netflix actually has a higher bitrate for the audio.
My blu-ray experience is the exact opposite where playing a blu-ray from my Xbox console results in excellent audio. I guess it's because the audio is not as compressed vs. an online streaming service?
audit13 wrote: Netflix has lower audio and video bit rates than Movies Anywhere or iTunes.
Noted!
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tapanpatel88 wrote: I just want to play the sound directly encoded as-is from the source content without any additional encoding. The same settings on other devices work really well, it's just Apple TV Netflix that seems to be an issue.

Bass is perfectly fine and the 2 subs (one in front and one behind me for that "oomph" effect) do a fantastic job with all other apps and devices.

I refrain from using rugs in my basement due to my dog who refuses to be trained in that area (okay, it's my fault for doing a bad job lol). But sound panels sounds great, I shall definitely look into this.
Applying Audyssey; that is, sound equalisation, is essential in some room environments. I spent time setting up my room and my Anthem receiver's room EQ made everything sound better.

I'm very surprised that it's only Netflix that causes this issue. The sound from my TV via ARC and sound from my ATV connected directly to my receiver sound identical to me.

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