Originally Posted by michaeltscott
Let's review the evidence supporting the theory that Netflix is switching to a lower bit rate set of encodings:
- The bit rate when output of a device is constrained to 720p is observed to be 27% lower than when output is set to 1080p (completely repeatable on both a PS3 and a Roku as posted back here)
- "High/HD" is a higher bit rate than the previous top 720p bit rate, by about 8%
- The high 720p bit rate in the web player's list of encodings has changed from 3600 Kbps to 3000 Kbps, as I posted back here; it's still 3600 Kbps for the example clip which shows X-High/HD in the players with stream status displays
- It was announced that Netflix had purchased technology with which to do this back in February, so that they've apparently begun to roll it out in the US 10 months later should come as no surprise (what I find surprising is that the reduction in bit rate isn't greater than the 15-20% were seeing, since the makers of the tech brag that they can equal quality of older encoders with half the bits)
The question that remains in my mind is whether the new video encodes are actually as good as the old (what eyeIO has claimed is that they can do better with a 20% reduction and as good as older encoders in as little as half the bits). Obviously some of you don't think so, but we have no basis for objective evaluation since we can't do side-by-side comparisons. I've asked forum member msgohan to do some screen caps with his HDMI capture card for comparison with his old captures of the same frames. Hopefully he'll agree to do that. Additionally at least one tech blogger is pinging his Netflix contact for some info on what's going on.
Excellent summary. Just notice that this is being rolled out not only in US, but at least in Canada and Brazil as well. We have no report from UK so far.
BTW, I have the Netflix App in my iPhone, and this morning I got an update to a newer version.
I am wondering that soon we will be getting updates for PS3 and for other devices, and in this case the player will start showing X-High/HD for 3000 Kbps birates (this is probably hardcoded in the software, and with a bitrate of 3000 Kbps the current players are showing High/HD as we are seeing).
I also managed to use the "Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Up, Up, Up" in my Samsung BD-E5300 and it showed the software version (as documented in Netflix website support for LG
Tonight I will try the above trick in my PS3, and I will also connect an USB keyboard to the PS3 to check if some the secret keys combinations that works in the web player (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S/D/P/L) will work in PS3 so we might know which is the maximum bitrate on PS3 (I don't think they will work, but I will give a try anyway).