I recently tried one of those instant rentals for $3.99 on Amazon using my HTPC's browser via aol shown on a 40" Sony HD XBR Set. The film was a relatively recent release. I did not see DD sound coming through my preamp-processor and the picture quality was about like a low end DVD, not bad but not great. Did I do something wrong?
When streaming via PC, you are limited to whatever Amazon offers to PC's. Different players offer different specs which are not the same as what a PC gets. So no, you did nothing wrong, it just is what it is. Most don't offer anything but stereo audio, I'm not sure about PC streams.
Usually you have an option to download Amazon titles to your PC which will get you 720p at 6 Mbps with 364 Kbps 6 channel sound (what I got for the titles I own, all HD television episodes that I somehow missed recording). 6 Mbps for 720p is massive as bit rates for streaming video goes, though I don't know that I'd consider those encoding impressive.
What I have been impressed with recently encoded titles streamed through my Roku 2 XS at less than half the bit rate. I've been watching Fringe over again and it's pretty crisp, Though not comparable to BD, about as good as HDTV. The basic DD surround sound is also nice.
EDIT: I just watched that newly-transformed-Captain-America-chases-the-German-spies-on-foot scene and the train crash scene in Super 8 and the sound rendition for both was very good, though I'm sure they don't rival the lossless tracks on the BDs.
Thanks, fellas. Sounds like I should try the download choice next time, rather than straight streaming. Are there any other services with massive libraries that do not require a monthly subscription charge? $3.99-$4.50 range is fine, but we do not want to be tied to a subscription with one company. We especially like foreign films and the lineup at some services is terrible in this regard.
Are there any other services with massive libraries that do not require a monthly subscription charge? $3.99-$4.50 range is fine, but we do not want to be tied to a subscription with one company. We especially like foreign films and the lineup at some services is terrible in this regard.
Well, there's CinemaNow; I think that their downloads are HD with surround though I'm not certain. If you like foreign and independent films you should definitely check out Jaman.