Best possible Netflix streaming device - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

According to Apple's PR department, this isn't true. Only stereo from Netflix, but 5.1 audio on most titles from iTunes.

Do you have a link to that? I'd love to add it to my collection

COMING SOONFinding the Ark of the Covenant by Brian Roberts, in the iBook Store on iTunes, a new investigation into the Hebrew’s Most Sacred Relic!
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:55 PM
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It was sent to me regarding an article I was doing on streaming services for a future issue. Here are some comments in another forum: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1024077

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Old 01-19-2011, 09:31 AM
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The PS3 is my current favorite (though I like the Xbox's UI better), due to its use of adaptive bit rate streaming to acheive "instant on" playback. (It starts within a couple of seconds of your pressing PLAY with a crappy low bit rate encoding and seamlessly switches to progressively higher bit rate/higher PQ encodings until it's displaying one at the highest rate that your connection to Netflix' server allows; this ramp up can be very quick. Thereafter, if bandwidth on your connection fluctuates, it can seamlessly switch to lower and higher rate encodings as appropriate). The PS3 also uniquely has 5.1 sound and 1080p encodings for a subset of its titles; none of the others have this yet.

You should avoid the Wii, since it cannot display high definition streams.
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Thank you very much for that Mike. PS3 it is then. I was told that the xbox requires a separate subscription and monthly fee.

Since any PS3 I come across might be as old as 2006, If I'm only interested in the unit for movie streaming (no gaming) does it matter which year I get? Will a 2006 model be as capable as a 2010 model for movies only?
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frascati View Post

Thank you very much for that Mike. PS3 it is then. I was told that the xbox requires a separate subscription and monthly fee.

Since any PS3 I come across might be as old as 2006, If I'm only interested in the unit for movie streaming (no gaming) does it matter which year I get? Will a 2006 model be as capable as a 2010 model for movies only?

Yeah, the XBOX requires a Gold subscription (which most gamers have anyways).

Are you going to be doing Blu-Ray playback on the PS3 as well? If so, you might want to make sure to get a slim. I believe the fat (which I have) can only do LPCM of the lossless tracks, while the slim can do Bitstream. I believe with Bitstream, it sends the raw sound, and then your receiver decodes it. With LPCM, the PS3 does the decoding and sends it to the receiver. But I am no expert on this and which way is better or anything, and you should probably refer to this thread for more info: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=842477

Here is a question I specifically asked about it when I finally got a receiver capable of decoding lossless earlier this month (see the two follow-up questions): http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3#post19761373.

I do not think it makes a difference as far as streaming is concerned (at least until someone starts streaming lossless tracks, I guess)
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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If you have been following this thread you know the results of my comparisons are that the PS3 is the winner in terms of Netflix picture quality, and the ATV 2 is second best.

Here are some actual screen photographs illustrating the quality of these two devices. The movie chosen here is "Beauty and the Briefcase", which Netflix lists as HD. The reason this movie was chosen is because it actually has a few segments in which the video freezes intentionally for a few seconds as part of the movie, which makes it easy to pause the stream at the exact same place for comparison.

There are three shots:

(1) ATV 2
(2) PS3 at 720p
(3) PS3 at 1080p

There is a significant PQ difference between (1) and (2), and no PQ difference between (2) and (3). This demonstrates the PS3 is producing superior images even when limited to 720p output. It also demonstrates that the stream was not 1080p since no additional improvement was seen going from (2) to (3).

The first 3 photos show the entire screen where you can see the PS3 info on the top left corner. The photos appear in the order listed above.

The second 2 photos are close up crops comparing (1) and (2). Look specifically at the detail in the guy's sweater. You can easily see the pattern of the knit in the PS3 version whereas it is just a flat lavender surface in the ATV2.

EDIT: Well, I just looked at the uploaded pics and I can't see any difference. In the originals it is quite obvious. All the detail must have been lost in the uploading compression. Let me try again and I'll update this post later with better pics.

EDIT 2: I can't find any way to upload higher resolution photos here so I put the originals up on flickr, but even there it is limiting my upload size and ruining the comparison. Is there any way to link directly from this forum to flickr so the images show up in the post?

Here are the flickr links.

ATV2
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4536535...35793/sizes/l/

PS3 at 720p
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4536535...n/photostream/

PS3 at 1080p
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4536535...n/photostream/

ATV2 crop
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4536535...n/photostream/

PS3 at 720p crop
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4536535...n/photostream/

PS3 at 1080p crop
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4536535...n/photostream/
LL
LL
LL
LL
LL
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:19 PM
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That's a shockingly big difference between the ATV2 crop and PS3 at 720 crop if both photos are in focus. You might try uploading the big ones to Imageshack instead.
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msgohan View Post

That's a shockingly big difference between the ATV2 crop and PS3 at 720 crop if both photos are in focus. You might try uploading the big ones to Imageshack instead.

They're in focus. That's exactly how it appeared on the screen. Also as a reference you can see the plasma cell column lines and they are sharp in both pics.

The nice thing about this test is anyone can repeat it at home and should get the same results. The movie is still on Netflix, and the timestamp is shown on the screen. Give it a try.
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:05 AM
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Thanks for those photos rpaul.

I hope to start doing Netflix in the near future and have the same questions about which device to get. I like the Apple TV interface, there is a great video somewhere comparing ATV, Roku and Google.

Unfortunately I am not a gamer so I don't have much desire to purchase a PS3. And I am actually more interested in the quality of the movie, story, acting, etc. But I am considering getting a PS3 in light of the pics you have posted.

So thanks!
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zzdocxx View Post

Thanks for those photos rpaul.

I hope to start doing Netflix in the near future and have the same questions about which device to get. I like the Apple TV interface, there is a great video somewhere comparing ATV, Roku and Google.

Unfortunately I am not a gamer so I don't have much desire to purchase a PS3. And I am actually more interested in the quality of the movie, story, acting, etc. But I am considering getting a PS3 in light of the pics you have posted.

So thanks!

I also have no interest in gaming. It does seem kind of funny to buy the world's best game console and not play any games, lol ;-)

My decision was based totally on Netflix performance and Blu Ray performance. In both areas, the PS3 can not be beat. Some streaming videos look so amazingly good on this I would not be able to tell they are not BR.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

I also have no interest in gaming. It does seem kind of funny to buy the world's best game console and not play any games, lol ;-)

My decision was based totally on Netflix performance and Blu Ray performance. In both areas, the PS3 can not be beat. Some streaming videos look so amazingly good on this I would not be able to tell they are not BR.

When the PS3 launched back in November of 2006, at $600 it was by far the least expensive BD player on the market (the first BD players hit the market about 5 months earlier); I have no doubt that some hundreds of thousands of units were sold to people for that use who had no interest in gaming. (BTW, don't call it "the world's best game console" in mixed company, lest you be set upon by highly irate teenagers ).

Have you downloaded the Vudu player and checked that out? Create an account and they give you $6, enough to rent a new release title in their highest quality format. It's much more impressive than anything you can get from Netflix. If you want to try it, select "What's New" from the XMB (the big orange square which is selected when you start the console up) and navigate to the big "VUDU HD Movies" pane; that will bring you to where you can download it, after which it will appear in the video column of the XMB.

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Old 01-23-2011, 01:23 PM
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I've never played a single game on my 20GB original PS3($300 at Sears), bought it as a Blu-ray player, and it's added ability as a media playback center has made it one of the very best HT investments I've ever made, I'm very happy with it's performance.
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

... (BTW, don't call it "the world's best game console" in mixed company, lest you be set upon by highly irate teenagers ).
.

Good point! Let me rephrase that to "one of the world's best consoles" ;-) I really have no idea how it stacks up against Xbox and Wii for gaming personally.

Thanks for the tip about vudu. I'll check it out.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:04 PM
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Yeah, I bought the PS3 for $600 way back when and mainly for BD playback (bonus now that it currently has the best Netflix streamer and does Vudu as well).

I have my 360 for gaming (I prefer it for many reasons which I won't go into here), but have played a handful on the PS3. By handful, I mean specifically 5 games....well, technically I've played 4, but I have Uncharted 2 sitting here that I haven't started yet, so I'll say 5.

Those shots posted earlier are interesting. Definitely more detail in the PS3 shots, and it does appear there is ever-so-slightly more in the 1080p shots in the sweater, but it's hard to tell if there really is or if if it's just the camera (or placebo effect).
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpauls View Post
...
There are three shots:

(1) ATV 2
(2) PS3 at 720p
(3) PS3 at 1080p

There is a significant PQ difference between (1) and (2), and no PQ difference between (2) and (3). This demonstrates the PS3 is producing superior images even when limited to 720p output. It also demonstrates that the stream was not 1080p since no additional improvement was seen going from (2) to (3).
...
Looks like you were comparing the upconversion of PS3 to the upconversion of your TV. This will also explain why there is no difference between (2) and (3).

Is there an option to turn off the upconversion of the PS3 and turn off CEC on both your TV and PS3? It would be interesting to see whether there will be differences between (2) and (3) then.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Olbi View Post

Looks like you were comparing the upconversion of PS3 to the upconversion of your TV. This will also explain why there is no difference between (2) and (3).

Is there an option to turn off the upconversion of the PS3 and turn off CEC on both your TV and PS3? It would be interesting to see whether there will be differences between (2) and (3) then.

Yes, in the case where the original source stream is 720p, then the comparison between (2) and (3) is essentially comparing upconversion in the TV vs upconversion in the PS3. They look very similar, which suggests the two upconvertion processes are equally good, and therefore the PS3 upconvertion is not what accounts for the better PQ on Netflix in my case. Some had previously suggested it might.

Also, if the original source had been a 1080p stream, then (2) would have looked worse than (3). It did not, so I conclude that the source was not 1080.

So based on these observations I make the following concludions.

(1) The PS3 looks better than the ATV for HD Netflix.
(2) The difference in (1) is not due to the PS3's upconversion.
(3) The stream being compared was not 1080p.
(4) Either the PS3 is getting a higher quality stream, or it is doing better processing or both, but in either case both devices were working off a 720p stream.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:15 PM
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Considering we're dealing with progressive scan video, I would think that the difference in scalers would be trivial compared to the difference in source material. The topic of scaling was wildly popular at the end of the DVD era. Because DVDs are stored as interlaced fields, compounded by 3:2 conversion, the opportunity for differences in scaling was much greater. Add on top of this analog video interconnects, and a quality scaler becomes even more critical.

Not to say that scaling algorithms are irrelevant. But rather that differences between video streams will largely obscure the differences in scaling.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

Yes, in the case where the original source stream is 720p, then the comparison between (2) and (3) is essentially comparing upconversion in the TV vs upconversion in the PS3. They look very similar, which suggests the two upconvertion processes are equally good, and therefore the PS3 upconvertion is not what accounts for the better PQ on Netflix in my case. Some had previously suggested it might.

Also, if the original source had been a 1080p stream, then (2) would have looked worse than (3). It did not, so I conclude that the source was not 1080.

So based on these observations I make the following concludions.

(1) The PS3 looks better than the ATV for HD Netflix.
(2) The difference in (1) is not due to the PS3's upconversion.
(3) The stream being compared was not 1080p.
(4) Either the PS3 is getting a higher quality stream, or it is doing better processing or both, but in either case both devices were working off a 720p stream.

This was with an x-high hd title right? If that's the case, then the PS3 is reporting that a different stream is being played when set to 720p or 1080p. With 720p output, it would be limitted to high hd. (not x-high hd)

Hence, it would seem more precise to say that there was not a discernible difference in picture quality between 720p and 1080p output on a PS3. Lack of a difference in quality doesn't seem like enough evidence to say definitively that the stream wasn't 1080p.

Or perhaps you're saying that the stream never reached x-high hd in 1080p mode. That would indeed suggest that the stream was only 720p. Or at least that the PS3 reported "high hd" no matter whether set to 720p or 1080p output. I'm theorizing that x-high hd means 1080p... but don't have any proof of that.
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:23 PM
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I just tweeted the following to Netflixhelps:

If "X-High/HD" appears when you press DISPLAY while viewing a PS3 stream, does it indicate that the encoding is 1080p?

I'll report their answer here. Let's see them be vague with the answer to that one .

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Old 01-25-2011, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

This was with an x-high hd title right? If that's the case, then the PS3 is reporting that a different stream is being played when set to 720p or 1080p. With 720p output, it would be limitted to high hd. (not x-high hd)

Hence, it would seem more precise to say that there was not a discernible difference in picture quality between 720p and 1080p output on a PS3. Lack of a difference in quality doesn't seem like enough evidence to say definitively that the stream wasn't 1080p.

Or perhaps you're saying that the stream never reached x-high hd in 1080p mode. That would indeed suggest that the stream was only 720p. Or at least that the PS3 reported "high hd" no matter whether set to 720p or 1080p output. I'm theorizing that x-high hd means 1080p... but don't have any proof of that.

Not sure I follow you here. The images I posted show the PS3 info onscreen. In the case where the PS3 output was set to 1080p it achieved X-high/HD, and when set to 720p output it achieved high/HD as shown. The PS3 never reports X-high/HD when its output is set to 720p.

If the stream was in fact 1080p and the PS3 was set to output 720p, then it would be downconverting and discarding information. So in this case setting the PS3 to 720p should degrade PQ compared to setting the PS3 at 1080p. It did not, which means no downconversion occured, which means the stream was 720p to begin with.

Note: All this is assuming a 1080p stream has a higher observable PQ than a 720P stream on a 1080p display, which is very likely, but not guaranteed.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:10 PM
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Even a half-ass video scaler does not "discard information" when downscaling--they process the higher resolution image by processing all of its pixels; every pixel in the downscaled image is the result of calulations on multiple pixels in the original higher res image. An image composed of a subset of the original pixel values would suck (as would an image upscaled by simple pixel replication).

The following is a pretty good example (original, reduced by pixel removal, reduced by interpolation):



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Old 01-25-2011, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

Not sure I follow you here. The images I posted show the PS3 info onscreen. In the case where the PS3 output was set to 1080p it achieved X-high/HD, and when set to 720p output it achieved high/HD as shown. The PS3 never reports X-high/HD when its output is set to 720p.

If the stream was in fact 1080p and the PS3 was set to output 720p, then it would be downconverting and discarding information. So in this case setting the PS3 to 720p should degrade PQ compared to setting the PS3 at 1080p. It did not, which means no downconversion occured, which means the stream was 720p to begin with.

Note: All this is assuming a 1080p stream has a higher observable PQ than a 720P stream on a 1080p display, which is very likely, but not guaranteed.

"The stream" is i think our disconnect.

My guess is that a 720p stream is always available whenever a 1080p stream exists. So when a PS3 is set to 720p, it requests and receives a 720p stream. All other netflix devices are likely also using these same streams. In other words, down-conversion from 1080p should never happen because netflix has multiple versions of each stream. Imagine how much belly aching there would be if 720p display owners discovered that their bandwidth was being squandered on resolution instead of additional detail at 720p.

Two variations of this theory are possible. A complete set of streams for both 720p and 1080p. Or all streams are 720p except for x-high hd, which is 1080p. The latter is what I see as most likely. Is this possible? It seems reasonable that adaptive streaming tech could be used to switch to a higher res when bandwidth permits.

Also, I don't think we should conclude that x-high hd is 720p simply because no difference is perceived between it and high hd at 720p. Perception is pretty finicky and who knows what encoding parameters are being used at each res.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Even a half-ass video scaler does not "discard information" when downscaling--they process the higher resolution image by processing all of its pixels; every pixel in the downscaled image is the result of calulations on multiple pixels in the original higher res image. An image composed of a subset of the original pixel values would suck (as would an image upscaled by simple pixel replication).

The following is a pretty good example (original, reduced by pixel removal, reduced by interpolation):

Sure it discards information. That is the very definition of downscaling.

What you're probably getting at is that all the information is used during processing. But it is used in order to figure out what information to discard. The end result is precisely... less information. Note that I didn't say pixels are used untouched or discarded. The term "information" was used intentionally.

We obviously both understand scaling. Hopefully we don't get sidetracked with its intricacies.
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

We obviously both understand scaling. Hopefully we don't get sidetracked with its intricacies.

It's just a semantic argument. Detail is lost in downscaling, but nothing is "discarded" per se, which to me implies that the process throws away some of the old pixel values, keeping some of them to use verbatim. No big.

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Old 01-25-2011, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

Sure it discards information. That is the very definition of downscaling.

What you're probably getting at is that all the information is used during processing. But it is used in order to figure out what information to discard. The end result is precisely... less information. Note that I didn't say pixels are used untouched or discarded. The term "information" was used intentionally.

We obviously both understand scaling. Hopefully we don't get sidetracked with its intricacies.

This is correct. If information were not discarded, then it would be mathematically possible to upscale back to the original 1080 frame perfectly (As in lossless compression for example). It is not really semantics. It is critical to this discussion to distinguish between pixels and information. It is not an easy concept to grasp unless you've had an opportunity to study it in a class at some point. Information can be measured in bits. The effective number of bits per pixel can vary widely in a compressed image.

This is at the core of all the comments relating bitrate to resolution.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

This is correct. If information were not discarded, then it would be mathematically possible to upscale back to the original 1080 frame perfectly (As in lossless compression for example). It is not really semantics. It is critical to this discussion to distinguish between pixels and information. It is not an easy concept to grasp unless you've had an opportunity to study it in a class at some point. Information can be measured in bits. The effective number of bits per pixel can vary widely in a compressed image.

This is at the core of all the comments relating bitrate to resolution.

Again, my only objection is to the word "discard", which to my mind implies directed selection of specific pieces of information to throw out and which to keep. IMO, information is "lost" in the process of downscaling.

We all mean the same thing and understand what it is that we mean so it doesn't matter.

BTW, I have degrees in engineering and 30+ years experience as a software engineer. It's been a long very long time since school, but I think that I may still understand the concept of information.

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Old 01-25-2011, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I just tweeted the following to Netflixhelps:

If "X-High/HD" appears when you press DISPLAY while viewing a PS3 stream, does it indicate that the encoding is 1080p?

I'll report their answer here. Let's see them be vague with the answer to that one .

Okay--at first they responded with:

Not necessarily. The quality largely depends on your internet connection.

. I fired back a 2-tweet reply:

The resolution information displayed can be Low/SD, Medium/SD, High/SD, Medium/HD, High/HD and X-High/HD...

... What *specifically* does X-High/HD mean? (It'd have been sooo nice if the standard PS3 video info overlay had been kept).

To which they responded:

Sorry for the confusion - that should indicate that you are streaming in 1080p.

So Netflixhelps confirms the theory that "X-High/HD" means 1080p. Sadly, many of their 1080p encodings would seem to be a waste of the extra bandwidth, inasmuch as they don't seem to bring an appreciable increase in level of detail.

It just occurred to me that their use of adaptive bit rate tech (smooth streaming) to seamlessly deal with connection bandwidth "turbulence" is probably their reason for fixed resolution. Shifting up and down through 480p, 720p and 1080p would give my television and many others fits and most would need at least a tick to adapt to resolution changes. Only discrete scaler boxes might be able to handle it smoothly. They could add an option some how, but it would only aid a tiny minority of users.

Mike Scott (XBL: MikeHellion, PSN: MarcHellion)

"Think of the cable company as a group of terrorist (sic)." -- hookbill
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:20 AM
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Wow! This means that x-high hd and 1080p are synonymous at this time. Thanks for eliciting that info.

Now I'm wondering if all streams with an HD badge can reach x-high hd, aka 1080p. Does anyone know of examples that don't? It seems to me that almost all are 1080p, which is kind of surprising actually. That's a high number of 1080p titles!

And that is an excellent point about a constant resolution output from the Netflix app. It certainly would be justified by adaptive bit rate streaming switching between 720p and 1080p mid-stream.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:20 AM
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I just tried all of the HD titles in my queue plus a few from my 5.1 title list and every one them went to X-High/HD, even the ones without 5.1 audio. It's impressive that they (may) have encoded 1080p streams for all of their HD stream library before they introduced the installed PS3 player. Certainly feasible inasmuch as we don't know how long ago they decided to support 1080p and 5.1 sound in that player. They had most of a year (from the time the BD-based player shipped) and the introduction of the new installed player.

In the famous 2 y/o blog entry, they stated that HD titles had two HD streams, one at 2.4 Mbps and one at 3.8 Mbps, presumably "Medium/HD" and "High/HD"; I suppose it makes sense that X-High/HD is 1080p. (There really should be an X-Low/SD as well--500 Kbps, I think--but maybe they never use it in the PS3 player).
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Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

And that is an excellent point about a constant resolution output from the Netflix app. It certainly would be justified by adaptive bit rate streaming switching between 720p and 1080p mid-stream.

I suppose what they could do (if you turned it on with an option) is to figure out the highest resolution of any available encoding for a title which you started to play and switch the resolution to that for the duration of your playing it. I'd turn that option off, but the discrete scaler crowd would use it (and people whose televisions could make the switch quickly and politely ).

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"Think of the cable company as a group of terrorist (sic)." -- hookbill
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I just tried all of the HD titles in my queue plus a few from my 5.1 title list and every one them went to X-High/HD, even the ones without 5.1 audio. It's impressive that they (may) have encoded 1080p streams for all of their HD stream library before they introduced the installed PS3 player. Certainly feasible inasmuch as we don't know how long ago they decided to support 1080p and 5.1 sound in that player. They had most of a year (from the time the BD-based player shipped) and the introduction of the new installed player.

In the famous 2 y/o blog entry, they stated that HD titles had two HD streams, one at 2.4 Mbps and one at 3.8 Mbps, presumably "Medium/HD" and "High/HD"; I suppose it makes sense that X-High/HD is 1080p. (There really should be an X-Low/SD as well--500 Kbps, I think--but maybe they never use it in the PS3 player).
I suppose what they could do (if you turned it on with an option) is to figure out the highest resolution of any available encoding for a title which you started to play and switch the resolution to that for the duration of your playing it. I'd turn that option off, but the discrete scaler crowd would use it (and people whose televisions could make the switch quickly and politely ).

The reply you got to from your tweets seems inconsistent. I would not trust the second reply. I don't believe any of the videos are in 1080p, and their employees are just not fully briefed on how to respond to such queries in a properly vague yet encouraging manner.

Here are the reasons I do not believe X-high HD = 1080p.

(1) There is no perceivable PQ difference between high HD and X-high HD.
(2) The automatic transition from high HD to X-high HD is seamless. I would expect some hiccup as the resolution changed.
(3) Every single HD movie achieves X-high HD. If X-high = 1080p, Netflix would have advertised *All HD movies now available in full 1080p* They did not.

Now if, on the other hand, I am wrong, and these movies actually are in 1080p, then my conclusion is that this implementation of 1080p is worthless as there is no PQ benefit.

The curious thing to me is item 1. What is X-high HD if there is no apparent PQ change? Maybe a placeholder for when they do send 1080p?
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:08 AM
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It seems that your doubt of 1080p hinges almost entirely on no perceived difference between high hd and x-high hd. I would like to respectably disagree. Here is why I think the rest of the evidence is to the contrary.

With adaptive streaming, it is entirely plausible that the resolution changes along with the bitrate. The programming needed to pull this off is incredibly trivial if an adaptive streaming technology is already in use. When frames are constructed, they're upscaled if needed. It is literally child's play as compared to everything else involved in adaptive streaming. Scaling an already decoded frame... no trouble at all.

As for netflix advertising this, it seems that they have. They very publicly announced that PS3 hd streaming was 1080. That was in fact THE big announcement when releasing the discless PS3 app. It was 1080 enabled. (Initially they screwed up and said 1080i but then clarified and explained that it was indeed 1080p) Why they did they leave out the word "all"? I would guess that this is because there are exceptions or that all is implied. When they say streaming is 1080p, it seems clear that they mean streaming is in 1080p.

Another piece of supporting evidence is that the PS3 can only get x-high hd when set to 1080p. Netflix has provided streaming bandwidth requirements for 1080p. They are indeed different than the previous HD requirement. And now they've even said that x-high hd is 1080p.

So basically, it seems that your doubt of 1080p really rests on not personally perceiving a difference. Though I would agree that there is not always a significant or perhaps even perceivable difference.
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