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Can’t hear voices clearly on Netflix? One simple trick can fix it

Netflix remains the most popular streamer on the planet, but despite its ubiquity, the service still has its fair share of technical issues. One noted issue concerns the sound quality of movies and TV shows on the Netflix app. If you have ever felt like you couldn’t hear the voices of the actors clearly, it might be due to a problem with Netflix and not your TV.

In 2023, TechRadar published a helpful guide for Netflix subscribers experiencing sound quality issues on their TVs. As the publication noted at the time, Netflix weirdly defaults to 5.1 surround sound for some users even if they aren’t using a surround sound system.

If you’ve ever had trouble hearing content on Netflix while watching on a TV without a soundbar or a fancy surround sound system, this might be the problem.

It’s unclear how common this issue is or why exactly it happens, but there have been numerous social media posts, Reddit threads, and news articles about it over the years. Thankfully, there’s a relatively simple fix, but the bad news is that it’s not permanent.

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Here’s what you can do to turn off surround sound when you’re streaming on Netflix:

  1. Open the Netflix app on your TV.
  2. Start playing any movie or show.
  3. Pause the content immediately and use your remote to navigate to the “Other…” button at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Scroll down to the “Audio” options and choose “English [Original]”

When I opened up Netflix on my Hisense TV while writing this article, I was surprised to see that my app defaulted to the “English [Original] (5.1)” audio setting when I loaded up a movie. My TV does have solid built-in speakers for a flat-screen TV, but I do not have anything else connected to the TV for sound. Nevertheless, 5.1 was the default.

We can’t guarantee that this will make a difference, but it’s certainly worth a shot.

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