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post #1 of 6113 Old 11-27-2008, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I read online that the Netflix instant streaming movies throttle the quality based on connection speed. I am on a 2Mbit connection. Not blazing, but it should stream at least some decent quality videos. However, every movie I've tried to see looks horrible, even worse than youtube, with blurry faces and gigantic blocks. I've streamed Hulu videos in their own HD resolution (480p?) without any issue and they look great for the bandwidth.
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post #2 of 6113 Old 12-01-2008, 11:52 AM
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On the Netflix blog there's an excellent explanation of what they're doing for encoding and delivery of streaming video entitled "Encoding for streaming". In that article, under the heading "Delivered Quality", it explains that they use a four bar system of for measured connection bandwidth, for which they deliver 500, 1000, 1600 and 2200 Kbps encodings; for some content, where the source quality is particularly high, they additionally have 3400 kbps encodings which will be delivered if your line speed is high enough. The article also explains that to get a particular encoding, they have to measure a 40% higher connection speed, implying:
# Bars Encoding Req'd Speed
Four 3400 4760
Four 2200 3080
Three 1600 2240
Two 1000 1400
One 500 700

(Bit rates are in Kbps).

So your 2 Mbps line speed should get you (at best) the two bar, 1 Mbps encoding. Remember, depending upon the number of hops through the network between you and the server, the real rate for any connection may be lower than the theoretical maximum for your network service. Your distance to the nearest server for Hulu might be less than to Netflix. How many bars is it reporting?

It is what it is. If it's not good enough, wait until you have higher speed service to use it and be content with Hulu.

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post #3 of 6113 Old 12-01-2008, 04:10 PM
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Another option would be to chuck the Netflix and switch over to one of the download services that take advantage of a storage device to download better quality content - Vudu and BlockBuster both fit this, with the Vudu supporting instant view SD and delayed view HD at that speed.

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post #4 of 6113 Old 12-06-2008, 07:12 PM
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is the Netflix HD any good?
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post #5 of 6113 Old 12-08-2008, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by nded View Post

Another option would be to chuck the Netflix and switch over to one of the download services that take advantage of a storage device to download better quality content - Vudu and BlockBuster both fit this, with the Vudu supporting instant view SD and delayed view HD at that speed.

Ditto this, but keep in mind that drives the cost up from the monthly NF fee (as low as $8.99 a month) for unlimited streaming to $4-6 per movie using one of these other services. But the quality would be better. I'd more suggest getting a better internet connection if possible. 2MBps is not very fast in this day and age if you want to be streaming/downloading video.

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Originally Posted by ambush276 View Post

is the Netflix HD any good?

In my experience, video quality is on par (or very slightly below) what you get with cable or satellite. Think Heroes, BSG, or Lost quality. However the sound is only in stereo as it stands right now, which is annoying. Hopefully that improves.
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post #6 of 6113 Old 12-09-2008, 07:36 AM
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Netflix showed up on my TiVo's yesterday. I qualify for the highest setting with a 10Mbps line. It looks like DVD quality from what I tried out.
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post #7 of 6113 Old 12-09-2008, 12:37 PM
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I just signed up for 6mbps DSL with AT&T( it's not installed yet). Should I expect to get the highest quality available at that speed?
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post #8 of 6113 Old 12-09-2008, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mbroder View Post

I just signed up for 6mbps DSL with AT&T( it's not installed yet). Should I expect to get the highest quality available at that speed?

I'd expect it to more or less always qualify for the highest quality standard def; if you can get and maintain a connection to the necessary servers at close to the rated speed of your service (around 90%), you should get the HD encoding, when one is available (only a little over 300 out of 12,000 titles right now).

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post #9 of 6113 Old 12-09-2008, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I'd expect it to more or less always qualify for the highest quality standard def; if you can get and maintain a connection to the necessary servers at close to the rated speed of your service (around 90%), you should get the HD encoding, when one is available (only a little over 300 out of 12,000 titles right now).

Thanks,

I don't have an x-box 360. I asked my family for a Roku for x-mas, so I'll have to wait for HD to become available I guess. It's hard for me to watch anything that isn't in HD, but I really like the idea of free (well, included) on-demand from Netflix. Sometimes I turn on DirectTv and I can't find anything I want to watch on my 150 or so channels.
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post #10 of 6113 Old 12-10-2008, 07:39 AM
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I have in general been pretty impressed with the SD from Netflix. Perhaps it is the scaller in my projector, but some of the SD stuff look very good. I have 6.5-8 mbps dls. The strange thing I have noticed is that some films ( Resident Evil - Extinction ) never streams with 4 dots, even though I can quite RE and start another stream and it will be 4 dots. It is reproducable and somewhat annoying.

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post #11 of 6113 Old 12-10-2008, 01:27 PM
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Not sure if this discussion pertains to the Watch Instantly service.. say over PS3.. but when I check Netflix at http://www.netflix.com/WiMessage?msg=52.. it shows my video quality at 3 bars/High. I have a 6 mbps through AT&T and all the speed tests I run always show me at 5.7 or 5.8..
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post #12 of 6113 Old 12-10-2008, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacbellguy View Post

Not sure if this discussion pertains to the Watch Instantly service.. say over PS3.. but when I check Netflix at http://www.netflix.com/WiMessage?msg=52.. it shows my video quality at 3 bars/High. I have a 6 mbps through AT&T and all the speed tests I run always show me at 5.7 or 5.8..

A lot depends on the route between you and the server you're trying to reach. Try the speed tests at Broadband reports, and compare your connection speeds to the closest server to you and increasingly far away servers.

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post #13 of 6113 Old 12-17-2008, 05:07 PM
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I just got FIOS 20Mb Down/20Mb Up so I should have enough bandwidth to get the best quality Netflix streaming, but through 3 HD movies that I've watched so far, the streaming (which starts at 4HD bars) has been paused and quality lowered two times during each of the movies. Shouldn't 20Mb be enough NOT to cause a shift? By the time the 2nd reduction happens, the quality looks worse than DVD quality on my 120" screen. Can I stop it from reducing the quality? I would imagine the speed doesn't ever really go lower than the 4 or 5Kb or so it needs for best quality.
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post #14 of 6113 Old 12-18-2008, 07:45 AM
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I have a 5Mb cable broadband and it doesn't matter which time of the day, the picture quality is about VHS level on a 22" monitor. I read some more about quality issue on their web site and I think another significant factor is about their server streaming load. With all the posts above, the choke point is definitely on their server.
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post #15 of 6113 Old 12-19-2008, 07:34 PM
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FWIW, I've got 12 Mbps DSL from Qwest, and I always get HD 4 bars on my Xbox 360 as long as I'm not doing a lot of other network activity.

For some reason, if I'm doing a big upload (which is common; perils of working in HD video from home ), that seems to knock it down to 2-3 bars.

The oddest thing is all the shows in HD that I don't think were ever broadcast in HD. My 8 year old's been watching "Jake Long - American Dragon" in glorious HD. Not a show that really needs it, but there's a surprising amount of detail in there that I never would have guess at. > 3 Gbps VC-1 is a lot better than the Dish SD MPEG-2 he saw it in before!

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post #16 of 6113 Old 12-31-2008, 12:13 PM
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So far the HD quality movies look great on my screen, however the amount of HD movies right now is not very good, hopefully this improves.

I wanted to ditto the sound quality as well. Currently in 2.0, I would love this to be upgraded to 5.1. I'm currently using my Xbox as the source.
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post #17 of 6113 Old 01-17-2009, 11:36 AM
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I had to upgrade to "Speed Plus" from Bresnan cable (they advertise 15 Mbps but deliver about 8) to get HD movies from Netflix to work on my 360. I just watched "Girl 27" in HD, four bars, and it looked really good. My daughter is watching "Ratatouille" in SD and it looks pretty bad on my 50 in Panny plasma. I have Silverlight on my PC (AMD 3000 with 1 gig memory and an ATI 9000)) and watch instantly looks horrible and stutters.

The real problem is the extremely limited HD selection, which hasn't improved since November.
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post #18 of 6113 Old 01-17-2009, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiomagnate View Post

I had to upgrade to "Speed Plus" from Bresnan cable (they advertise 15 Mbps but deliver about 8) to get HD movies from Netflix to work on my 360. I just watched "Girl 27" in HD, four bars, and it looked really good. My daughter is watching "Ratatouille" in SD and it looks pretty bad on my 50 in Panny plasma. I have Silverlight on my PC (AMD 3000 with 1 gig memory and an ATI 9000)) and watch instantly looks horrible and stutters.

The real problem is the extremely limited HD selection, which hasn't improved since November.

Ouch. I am promised 12-16 Mbps via Comcast. I actually test out at 20.6 Mpbs through a Linksys switch/router. Most providers claim your switches or routers inside your home drop up to 3 Mbps. If you also run a wireless router you could get less. I upgraded to a 802.11n router with 4 wired LAN sockets. Using the wireless we still get 18.2 Mbps to laptops but the wired connections are even better. Also, my development is only 35% complete so I am not competing with too many houses for the bandwidth.

I recently purchased a Vudu box. The SD quality is very good and queues up in 8-14 seconds as does the first tier HD titles. There is even an HDX option that is 1080p/24fps with 8-20Mbps encodes. Hard pressed to see a difference between this video and blu-ray on my 1080p front projector and 119" diagonal screen. You may want to check it out.
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post #19 of 6113 Old 01-17-2009, 08:18 PM
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I also have both netflix and a Vudu. Quality is not really a contest between the two - Vudu wins easily - by a lot. The next time they go on sale, I would recommend one to any home theater enthusiast with a 4mbit broadband connection. Really a slick little box.

Obviously the other difference is Netflix all you can watch buffet of mostly older titles vs Vudu pay per view of mostly any new release - pick your poison. I do admit there are a couple (literally 2) relatively new movies available for streaming on Netflix that are purchase only on Vudu, not rent, which is annoying.

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post #20 of 6113 Old 01-18-2009, 10:15 AM
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Netflix announced they have just switched over to HD streaming, though not on all titles I am sure. I think the netflix subscription plus the box is a good if not great deal for 14. bucks a month for 2 dvds at a time, 1$ for blu-ray upgrade. Turnover for movies about 2 days
I am about to hook up the Roku, but have been streaming for a while to my laptop. We have wireless in our house, not sure of the speed.

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post #21 of 6113 Old 01-18-2009, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anka View Post

Netflix announced they have just switched over to HD streaming, though not on all titles I am sure. I think the netflix subscription plus the box is a good if not great deal for 14. bucks a month for 2 dvds at a time, 1$ for blu-ray upgrade. Turnover for movies about 2 days
I am about to hook up the Roku, but have been streaming for a while to my laptop. We have wireless in our house, not sure of the speed.

Anka

Netflix has had HD stream since MS launched the "New Xbox Experience" dashboard upgrade in mid-November. There are only a few hundred HD streams, out of 12,000 streaming titles overall and the number hasn't increased. Once you register an HD capable device, you can see a list of HD streaming titles at:


I don't think that it's a comprehensive list, since Netflix claims over 300 HD streaming titles and this "HD Genre" list has never been more than 180 or so (well over 500, if you count individual TV series episodes, so that's not it). In the past, I've known of a couple of HD streams that weren't on that list but are on it now.

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post #22 of 6113 Old 01-18-2009, 03:46 PM
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I have 3 Mps DSL. Streaming to my Vista HTPC, using the Netflix player, looks like crap to me on a 21" Silicon Graphics CRT... splotchy, VHS quality. For example, the beginning of a Starz Play logo look real bad.

Streaming to the Xbox 360 and displayed on a 65" HDTV looks a LOT better.

-T
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post #23 of 6113 Old 01-22-2009, 07:02 PM
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For example, the beginning of a Starz Play logo look real bad.

I noticed that anything from Starz looks terrible when compared to anything else.
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post #24 of 6113 Old 01-24-2009, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Bone View Post

I have 3 Mps DSL. Streaming to my Vista HTPC, using the Netflix player, looks like crap to me on a 21" Silicon Graphics CRT... splotchy, VHS quality. For example, the beginning of a Starz Play logo look real bad.

Streaming to the Xbox 360 and displayed on a 65" HDTV looks a LOT better.

-T

I agree HDTV looks much better. VUDU SD is better my 2 week trial with Netflix is over only 2 days in.
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post #25 of 6113 Old 01-26-2009, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jinj View Post

I noticed that anything from Starz looks terrible when compared to anything else.

The Starz offerings are terrible. A lot of them are 4:3 with crude transfers. The TV shows in HD have been quite good though for some reason.

It just looks expensive!

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post #26 of 6113 Old 01-26-2009, 09:07 AM
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I have to agree the quality is bad, not even close to Vudu, even Amazon is better.
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post #27 of 6113 Old 01-26-2009, 09:19 AM
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I am using a samsung 2500 player with the latest firmware and a 10Meg line tested at better than 10megs going into the player and all I get half the quality bars on my Samsung 67a750 tv and a lousy picture on all some worse than others. Any ideas will be welcome.
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post #28 of 6113 Old 01-26-2009, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastlane2546 View Post

I am using a samsung 2500 player with the latest firmware and a 10Meg line tested at better than 10megs going into the player and all I get half the quality bars on my Samsung 67a750 tv and a lousy picture on all some worse than others. Any ideas will be welcome.

Going into the player from where? Just because you can sustain a 10 Mbps connection to a server in town (probably to anywhere within a couple hundred miles) doesn't mean that you can acheive a connection at that rate or sustain it to any arbitrary point on the Internet.

Also, I've run across a few Netflix streaming titles that didn't have a full set of encodings. It might be that the best encoding available for what you chose is what you're getting. If you only get half the bars no matter what you chose, then there's some problem acheiving a higher speed connection with the nearest Netflix server.

It'd be wonderful if they gave us a precise reading of connection speed from their brief test instead of these stupid bars .

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post #29 of 6113 Old 01-26-2009, 09:35 AM
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Out of my modem into my router to my player. If I hook up the same line to my laptop instread of my player I get 10megs speed on every test.
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post #30 of 6113 Old 01-26-2009, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastlane2546 View Post

Out of my modem into my router to my player. If I hook up the same line to my laptop instread of my player I get 10megs speed on every test.

In your testing, where is data coming into your modem from? If you're testing speed to a server outside of your home, only the speed of the connection from that server into your modem is significant. Given 100BaseT capable router with Cat5e or better cabling, speed from point to point within your LAN should be greater than any Internet service that you're likely to have to your home (much more than any 10 Mbps).

What are you using to perform these tests, anyway?

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