I just discovered the problem

I just read that Netflix compresses their audio at 5.1 surround so some of the speech audio is lost on stereo speakers. This is pretty ridiculous considering I don't need surround sound in my living room to hear speech or explosions normally so Netflix is really hampering those of us who don't want to spend the extra money for a system they don't need.

http://gigaom.com/2013/06/28/poor-audio-balance-streaming-players-might-not-help/

Sure many people use 5.1 but it's always been an extra "neato" feature that I never cared about (I never liked it in theaters) and takes up more space, wires, and equipment in the living room... it's like 3-D in movies; it's nice to experience once in a while but not necessary.

So maybe when I'm in a situation where 5.1 makes more sense (like in a house where they can sit spread out untouched and I don't have to worry about wires or batteries and they will actually matter instead of being crowded together on a TV table), then I'll be able to hear Netflix dialogue without having to crank the volume up. It's really ridiculous that the speech is spread out among 5 speakers when I only have 2 ears!!!

I can't verify that Hulu uses this compression but it's my guess that they do. They really need to give us options to specify so they can stream an appropriate configuration or at least push the remaining 3 speaker streams to the existing stereo like most components do.