Originally Posted by GGA
Thank you. That was helpful.
When Netflix sends its streams to Amazon (1080p, 59.94 output), old Oppo (720p, 59.94), and Roku (1080p, 60.00), are the recipients all receiving the same signal and modifying it or is Netflix modifying the signal depending on the recipient? I know old Oppo was not allowed to send out 1080p because they could not implement the security that Netflix wanted, so I would assume Netflix was sending old Oppo 720p.
They are all receiving the same stream at the same resolution. When Roku get 720p24, it's the same 720p24 stream that the Oppo is sent. (Actually it's a little more complicated than that; Netflix used to use VC-1 with WMA stereo sound and some older devices are still receiving that instead of AVC w/whatever-stereo-encode-or-DD+-5.1 sound. Netflix bought some technology earlier this year which encodes AVC with the same PQ at lower bit rates and there is evidence that they're transitioning some set of devices to that set of video encodes already). Whatever the codec the frame rate's going to be the same; I'm not sure about the color space.
But with a BD player you can set it to output "native rate," essentially what is on the disc except for the conversion to 4:2:2. I am trying to understand if there is such a thing as "native rate" for streaming.
There is, though not all devices offer it. 2012 Panasonic 3D BD players (DMP-BDT220, -BDT320 and -BDT500) can output all of the streaming services at 24p to devices which support 24p (you have to turn it on in a submenu every time you run the streaming player, unlike BDs, for which it's a permanent setting). Some small set of other devices also have this capability; I think that WD TV Live is one of them.
Still strange to me that Roku is the only device sending out 60.00 RGB. I'd think the Roku box is just passing through what it is receiving, meaning the incoming stream is 60.00 RGB but generated by the Roku server or Netflix?
It's the only one of the three devices that you've tested, out of hundreds of devices which stream Netflix. My television is a 5 y/o 60 Hz 1080p LCD panel; it can't deal with 24 fps output so all of the video devices connected to it have to convert whatever source they're given into what my television can take (though my AVR will turn 24 fps into 60 fps for it); pretty much every kind of video device can do this.
On all recent devices these days Netflix uses a technology call Adaptive Bit-rate Streaming (ABS for short). In this system every title has several encodes at various bit rates. If the player is keeping its buffer full it will ask for a higher-bit-rate/better-picture-quality encode; if it's failing to keep its buffer full, it will ask for a lower-bit-rate/lower-picture-quality encode which it will start filling its buffer with before it runs out of content to display. This avoids the old situation of running out of content and stopping to re-buffer a lower bit rate version, never to return to the better encode. When this ABS algorithm works well, it's very smooth and resembles the focus of a camera lens becoming sharper or softer.
Try playing "Example 8 Hour 23.976
", which displays information about the resolution and bit rate of the currently selected video encode in a text overlay on the picture. (Search Netflix for "Example" to find an assortment of such clips at different frame rates, though only this one and "Example Short 23.976" have these info text overlays).