Netflix and Dolby Laboratories today announced that Netflix Instant streaming will be enabled with 5.1 channel surround beginning on October 18.
The first consumer device to support the higher quality audio will be the Sony PlayStation 3, but Netflix says the feature will eventually come to more hardware, like the many connected HDTVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, video game consoles, and mobile handsets supporting Netflix streaming today.
"Netflix required an audio solution that could efficiently deliver an outstanding surround sound experience for a wide range of consumer devices," Greg Peters, Netflix vice president of product development said in a statement on Thursday. "Dolby Digital Plus proved to be the best solution to meet our needs and the needs of our device partners."
Why is the PlayStation 3 the first device that will support Netflix with Dolby 5.1? The console is about to receive a major update on October 18 that will eliminate the requirement to run Netflix off of a disc, introduce the new Dolby 5.1 feature, bump up the resolution from 720p to 1080p, and improve the overall experience of Netflix on the console.
Greg Peters, Vice President of Netflix product development announced the upgrade today in the official PlayStation US blog, saying the service would support streams at 1080i. It was later revealed by Sony's Eric Lempel that it will actually be 1080p.
With higher resolution streams, higher quality audio, and an improved user experience, Netflix is moving toward delivering a streaming service equal to, or better than, those on-demand services from cable and satellite television providers.
Let's hope that Vizio updates their Netflix app to support these changes.