Originally Posted by Alex solomon
I watched a couple of HD streams/movies from Netflix on the BDT-110 and then on the PS3, switching between the two after watching one for about 10 minutes. While I love everything Panasonic and hate everything Sony, the BDT-110 is not even close to the PS3 in PQ when streaming from Netflix. Some movies like "Mesrine" streamed with the PS3 are equal in picture quality to most HDX movies I stream from Vudu.
In general, Netflix HD streams are 720p, but the PS3 (and apparently only
the PS3) has access to 1080p encodings. I installed some public domain firmware in my old WRT54G router which can display a realtime graph of bandwidth consumption and used it to examine the way that data is brought down by streaming players on half a dozen devices (TiVo S3, PS3, Xbox, DMP-BDT110, Roku XD and this PC, all playing to this 46" 1080p LCD panel). I wrote a little about this back in this
post, with links to posts with some of those graphs.
Anyway, the long and the short of it is that when the PS3 is streaming an HD title from Netflix with display resolution set to 1080p, the stream it plays averages a 33%-40% higher bit rate than when its display resolution is limited to 720p. All other Netflix players I've tested, including the BDT110, only access encodings of the same bit rate as the ones the PS3 plays at 720p, regardless of display resolution. Sony and Netflix announced back in December that there were 1080p encodings for the PS3, as well as some encodings with DD+ sound (and closed captions). There's no easy way to detect which streams are 1080p, but the player clearly states when 5.1 sound is available in title descriptions. Since Netflix doesn't give us a filter for this, I've been keeping and updating the "Official Netflix Watch Instantly 5.1/1080p Title List
I asked Netflix' Netflixhelps Twitter account whether all titles with 5.1 sound had 1080p encodings and was told that not every such title did and conversely not every title with a 1080p encoding had 5.1 sound. Thinking that maybe titles with 1080p encodings were rarer than those with 5.1 sound, I started slowly testing some of the titles on that list and marking them with colored text (slowly, because the test take 11-13 minutes per title). Noticing that all of the first 10 or 15 that I tested had those 33%-40%-higher-than-720p-bit-rate encodings, I tried 20 random HD titles without
5.1 sound (all of those in my Instant Queue and some picked at random from the player's browser) and each and every one of them had the high bit rate stream. I now believe that most if not all of HD Netflix Watch Instantly titles
have 1080p encodings for the PS3 (2175 as of this writing). It's possible that Netflix is forbidden to present 1080p streams for some titles due to licensing terms.
Since the announcement of 1080p and 5.1 sound for PS3, Apple TV, the Boxee Box and these 2011 Panasonic products with Viera Cast (and presumably the ones with Viera Connect, when they're released) have gained support for the 5.1 sound. I suspect that Boxee Box might have support for the 1080p encodings; I'm sorely tempted to buy one to test and return, but that would be wrong
. I presume that eventually many devices will have support for 1080p Netflix streams, including these BD players.