AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: San Jose, California, USA
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I've been enjoying NetFlix streaming offerings for a few weeks now. My player is a TiVo HD and my broadband is a DSL modem that varies from 2.0-2.5Mbps depending upon the day and time of day. The TiVo HD is connected via hardwired 10/100 router.
It's not bad when the source material is 720p (1280x720p60), but there are relatively few movies like that. Most films stream at 720x480i60 and are 16:9. This is one step below conventional DVD quality and 'scope films ARE cropped, but it's watchable on the medium-sized TV in the family room. In fact I have been watching mainly a few older 4:3 television series and it's fine for that - stuff I enjoyed years ago but not enough to buy on disk. The relatively few new HDTV series like Showtime's Dexter Season 4 are perfect 720p presentations, better than DVD quality, and available about a year before the Blu-Ray hits the street. I started this by watching the last season of NCIS in perfect 720p, after viewing the prior seasons on DVD - the 720p streaming version was distinctly better.
The DSL bandwidth is not an issue. I consistently get all 10 bars on the SD titles and all 10 bars plus the HD symbol for the HD titles. The direct-connected EtherNet is trouble free and although I have tried the PC player and WiFi, I much prefer the TiVo HD and wired connection for my 1080p display. Sound is stereo but again that is not a problem in my family room.
The bottom line is that I was already a NetFlix subscriber and I had a rooftop antenna for OTA HD which I viewed on the TiVo HD. Now I have (for the cost of an EtherNet cable) all the streaming offerings.
My DVD/Blu-Ray orders to NetFlix are much reduced. I still order the Blu-Ray and occasional DVD of anything I want to view in the Home Theater on the front projector, using surround sound.
The only technical issue is an occasional disconnect about 3/4ths of the way through a movie. I think this has happened four times now, always on weekends and never more than once a day - I think it is related to network traffic. The TiVo HD allows you to "Resume Play" at the exact spot the disconnect happened, after going through the "Now Playing List" menu to the NetFlix folder to the streaming title again.
I like it, and feel the TiVo/NetFlix combination may well be the best player implementation. I also have access to the Playstation Network but I seldom bother to use that, because almost all of that content is PPV. Sony, take note you are losing the Marketing war.
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