Starting next week, PS3 owners in the US will be the first Netflix customers to be able to stream their movies with 5.1-channel surround sound.
The improved audio will come via the use of Dolby Digital Plus, according to Netflix, which plans to add more device support over time.
"Netflix is committed to delivering an unparalleled experience to its members who watch TV shows and movies streamed instantly over the internet," said Greg Peters, Netflix vice president of product development. "Netflix required an audio solution that could efficiently deliver an outstanding surround sound experience for a wide range of consumer devices. Dolby Digital Plus proved to be the best solution to meet our needs and the needs of our device partners."
The new sound for PS3 owners will come via a new built-in app for Netflix that will be found on the PlayStation 3's cross media bar under a new Netflix icon in the video category. PS3 owners will just need to sign-in with their PlayStation Network accounts, though a Netflix account will still be required.
Other improvements to the service, according to Sony, include the following:
- A new user interface, including the recently added search functionality, will deliver a much richer and faster browsing experience, making it easier to find the specific titles you're looking for or to discover new content.
- Some movies and TV shows will be viewable in 1080i resolution, offering an enhanced visual experience as more consumers adopt HDTVs.
- The amount of time to start playback will be improved.
- An increasing number of movies and TV shows will be viewable with subtitles or alternate audio tracks.
Because the 360 was the first console to launch Netflix, I've tended to use that for all of my movie-streaming needs. But with this audio upgrade, and no longer needing to hunt up that Netflix disc, I'm definitely going to check out more movies on the PS3 now.