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post #1 of 17 Old 06-05-2013, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I was just wondering if anyone knew how or what constitutes HD for streaming. I've noticed a number of titles on Netflix - I don't use Amazon Prime nearly as much, that are listed as HD but I thought those titles have yet to be released on BD. Is this their own way of scaling the video to 720 or 1080, or does it might it just mean the audio is DD+? One title that comes to mind is "Witness." Unless that was a recent BD release, I remember it being posted in the BD wishlist forum not too long ago.
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post #2 of 17 Old 06-12-2013, 02:15 AM
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Would you be surprised to see Witness in HD on television? Netflix doesn't get the source for their content from video disc stores any more than a cable or national television channel would (see this, under "Materials Quality"). I've seen movies in the Netflix instant streaming catalog which had never been published on disc.

Though Witness is marked "Super HD" in the browsers, it's actually 720p-only (and not available to play in HD at all in the web player or the Win8 Netflix app).

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post #3 of 17 Old 06-12-2013, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by anikun07 View Post

I've noticed a number of titles on Netflix - I don't use Amazon Prime nearly as much, that are listed as HD but I thought those titles have yet to be released on BD.

HD is not a recent event, it has been around for many years. We started broadcasting ATSC (HD) 8VSB in November of 1998. HD telecines has been around for quite sometime as well. Here is the problem, many transfers were made on older HD telecines and were from prints that were not in the best of shape. IMO, many of these is what you see on Netflix, VUDU, Amazon, etc. Many are not OAR, they have been cropped and zoomed. This may be fine for the streaming and 1.33 DVD crowd but it will not fly for the Blu crowd. Hence most Blu’s come from the DI’s of more recent films or from painstaking film restoration projects.

Many folks think that if something is in 1.78, 1080 that it must be HD and that is wrong. With the right equipment you can take a cruddy VHS and scale it to 1.78, 1080.
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post #4 of 17 Old 06-30-2013, 04:09 PM
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I really hate when companies do upscale or promote sub 720p video as HD. I tend to look on http://streamingmoviereviews.com/ because HD means at least 720p. In particular I like ImoviesClub because the files are actaully in 720p all major releases depending on age of the movie. Also, they are legally licensed to do so. "Super HD" is such an annoying term as well either advertise it as 720p or even HD it's nothing special. Then there are the companies with DRM particularly charging more for HD content when bandwidth is cheap.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-01-2013, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post


Though Witness is marked "Super HD" in the browsers, it's actually 720p-only (and not available to play in HD at all in the web player or the Win8 Netflix app).

Because it from Epix which of course only has 720p and only on your TV bull crap.

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post #6 of 17 Old 07-01-2013, 01:21 PM
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I am still confused on what Netflix and Amazon actually do to their streaming content.

I thought that Netflix and Amazon only pass through what they receive and do not do any rescaling. Since Amazon HD is always 720p do they just order the 720p version from the owner or do they get 1080p and downscale to 720p?

Dish and Direct TV seem to be a bit different in that I can chose with Dish to have Dish send 480p, 720p, or 1080p? Here I assume they are rescaling.

Color spaces seem more confusing. My Roku2 used to send out RGB, Dish YCbCr 444, and Sony S790 allowed me to chose.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-05-2013, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

I am still confused on what Netflix and Amazon actually do to their streaming content.

I thought that Netflix and Amazon only pass through what they receive and do not do any rescaling.

Why did you think that? Netflix's adaptive bit rate scheme uses video encodes at 235-, 375-, 560-, 750-, 1050- (480x640), 1750- (480x720), 2350- & 3000- (720x1280), 3850-, 4300- and 5800 Kbps (1080x1920); 4300- and 5800 Kbps are so-called "Super HD", only available if your ISP is set up for access to Netflix's Open Connect CDN. (I can't remember what the resolutions of the four lowest bit rate encodes are; I do recall that 560- and 750- Kbps are the same resolution and that some titles don't have a 750 Kbps encode). I believe that Netflix receives a single high resolution source from their content providers from which they generate all of those encodes.

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post #8 of 17 Old 07-06-2013, 12:34 PM
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I actually read the article you referenced in the post #2 about different versions. smile.gif
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Content owners ability to prepare content for Netflix varies considerably.

It was filmed widescreen in a 2.20:1 aspect ratio but it was available for streaming on Netflix in a modified 4:3 aspect ratio. How can this happen? I attribute this poor customer experience to an industry wide epidemic of ‘versionitis’. After this film was produced, it was released in many formats. It was released in theaters, mastered for Blu-ray, formatted for airplane in flight viewing and formatted for the 4x3 televisions that prevailed in the era of this film. The creation of many versions of the film makes perfect sense but versioning becomes versionitis when retailers like Netflix neglect to clearly specify which version they want and when content owners don’t have a good handle on which versions they have.

It was not clear from the article whether resolution was determined by the content owner or Netflix. You list all the resolutions that Netflix delivers, but what I was asking was what resolution does Netflix receive from the content owner. The example given clearly states that aspect ratio is determined by the content owner, mentions mastering for Blu-ray, but not resolution.

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I believe that Netflix receives a single high resolution source from their content providers from which they generate all of those encodes.

But what about SD? Are we saying in theory Netflix (or anybody else) can receive a DVD quality original (480p) and deliver it as 1080p and call it HD or Super HD, or is there a "rule" that SD sources cannot go out beyond 480p? How would anyone be able to tell? Does Netflix upscale 720p to 1080p?

Also that Amazon is receiving 1080p but sending out 720p? Why would they do that?

I think some of my confusion is that my Sony S790 sends all Netflix out at 1080p obfuscating what the native rate. The Sony can do native rates for Blu-rays but not for streaming, which I find kind of perverse.
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-10-2013, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

But what about SD? Are we saying in theory Netflix (or anybody else) can receive a DVD quality original (480p) and deliver it as 1080p and call it HD or Super HD, or is there a "rule" that SD sources cannot go out beyond 480p? How would anyone be able to tell? Does Netflix upscale 720p to 1080p?

I don't believe that they upconvert 480p to HD resolutions but as you say it could be difficult to tell if they did. How would we know the difference between that and a really poor transfer? 2/3rds of their library is SD-only so if they're doing it they're not doing it for everything. There are 720p-only titles, so I doubt that they're upconverting that to 1080p either. (If your player has the Super HD logos titles marked simply "HD" are 720p-only. Some devices show those logos even when you can't get Super HD video from your ISP, like the Rokus and TiVo Premiere).

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Also that Amazon is receiving 1080p but sending out 720p? Why would they do that?

To keep the size down for streaming. If you rent or purchase a title in HD and download it to a TiVo Premiere, it's 1080p24 so they do create a 1080p encode but
they don't stream it. I suppose that if any significant subset of their Instant Video customers complained they might start streaming 1080p. Their 720p looks pretty good.

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post #10 of 17 Old 07-12-2013, 10:32 AM
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Thanks for the reply. All very confusing and contradictory (not you, the streaming companies).

Amazon uses 720p to save bandwidth but uses the less efficient DD.

Netflix consumes more bandwidth with 1080p and even more with SuperHD. Wisely the use DD+.

I agree that 720p Amazon looks just fine. Surprising Netflix does not use it more often.
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There are 720p-only titles, so I doubt that they're upconverting that to 1080p either. (If your player has the Super HD logos titles marked simply "HD" are 720p-only.

I do not believe I have ever encountered a 720p title on Netflix, only 480p and 1080p. I might get 720p for a moment but it always ramps up to 1080p according to the Neflix info button. I get 3850 with the Sony S790 but only 4300 with UnblockUs, as of a couple weeks ago. Hope they can fix that in the near future. I did cancel UnblockUs. Can you please tell me a 720p title? I would like to see what I get.

I agree with you that Netflix should have tiered pricing level depending on bandwidth.
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-12-2013, 03:04 PM
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See the "Whats up with most stuff being 'Available in HD on your TV' crap?" thread. The titles which are 720p-only are marked "Available in HD on your TV" on their page at Netflix's site instead of just "Available in HD"; they cannot be played in HD at all on a PC, which is reddice's complaint. There is a pattern to what's only available in 720p by studio and content type (TV or movie) which is discussed there. If you can see the Super HD logos in the browser for the player that you're using, then they'll be marked simply "HD" instead of "Super HD". A couple of examples are Warrior and Super 8, titles acquired in their Epix deal.]

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post #12 of 17 Old 07-12-2013, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by GGA View Post

I agree with you that Netflix should have tiered pricing level depending on bandwidth.

I don't recall saying that. I do believe that Netflix should give us finer control over bandwidth constraints than is current available via their "Manage video quality" account setting. They current define three levels, "Good", "Better" and "Best", wherein "Best" gets you everything and "Better" won't get you the highest quality standard def video. I think that there should be levels for "Best quality SD", "720p HD", "1080p HD" and "1080p Super HD" and it'd be nice if there was a control for setting these in the players; like "Audio and subtitles" there'd be a "Video quality" submenu. I suggested this in a chat with a support CSR who said that he'd pass it on to their research department; who knows if anything will come of that.

I'm streaming more with the summer reduction in broadcast TV; given that, I've started to run into my ISP's network bandwidth cap. If I stream 4 hours a day, that's 124 hours in a 31 day month which is 371.25 GB if it's all 5800 Kbps Super HD w/384 Kbps DD+ sound; 124 hours of "normal HD" with 5.1 sound consumes 262.38 GB, a savings of about 109 GB. Having a bandwidth cap, I should be able to prevent Netflix from streaming Super HD to me for the considerable savings in precious bandwidth. Right now, the only way to do that is to set the output resolution of a device to 720p; currently I have my Roku 3 set that way. The Netflix players in some devices ignore that and will stream the highest bit rate encode they can get and downconvert it.

They created that "Manage video quality" setting when they expanded into Canada, since many Canadian ISPs had severe caps at the time. Given Super HD, it's no longer enough.

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post #13 of 17 Old 07-13-2013, 06:16 AM
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I wonder if Netflix gave Open Connect users the choice of using 1080p 3850kpbs streams in the video quality settings then they most likely wont be connecting to the Open Connect streams.

I do agree that there should be more choice as if you chose anything but Best you don't even get 480p SD quality.

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post #14 of 17 Old 07-13-2013, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reddice View Post

I wonder if Netflix gave Open Connect users the choice of using 1080p 3850kpbs streams in the video quality settings then they most likely wont be connecting to the Open Connect streams.

I do agree that there should be more choice as if you chose anything but Best you don't even get 480p SD quality.


As I posted before, I've compared 720p HD to Super HD and found the differences to be rather subtle. That being said, unless you have a very big screen, it's not unreasonable to consider using a device that only streams in 720p, like a Roku2 HD, if you have issues with caps, since there are fewer buffering issues with open connect.


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post #15 of 17 Old 07-13-2013, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

See the "Whats up with most stuff being 'Available in HD on your TV' crap?" thread. The titles which are 720p-only are marked "Available in HD on your TV" on their page at Netflix's site instead of just "Available in HD"; they cannot be played in HD at all on a PC, which is reddice's complaint. There is a pattern to what's only available in 720p by studio and content type (TV or movie) which is discussed there. If you can see the Super HD logos in the browser for the player that you're using, then they'll be marked simply "HD" instead of "Super HD". A couple of examples are Warrior and Super 8, titles acquired in their Epix deal.]
Don't forget Fox Studios. EVERYTHING 100% of TV shows and Movies you can't stream one byte in HD on any device except your TV even shows that were not on FOX.

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post #16 of 17 Old 07-13-2013, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reddice View Post

I wonder if Netflix gave Open Connect users the choice of using 1080p 3850kpbs streams in the video quality settings then they most likely wont be connecting to the Open Connect servers.

FTFY. Currently maybe not, though they do have to pay for bandwidth from the commercial CDNs which'd be cheaper over the path from their OC servers. I could care less, as long as it wasn't burning away my bandwidth cap. I have a pretty generous 400 GB cap; other Cox subs whose nominal network service speed is high enough to get Super HD have a significantly smaller cap (18/2 tier, 250 GB cap).
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I do agree that there should be more choice as if you chose anything but Best you don't even get 480p SD quality.

You do get 1050 Kbps 480x640 but not 1750 Kbps 480x720.
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Don't forget Fox Studios. EVERYTHING 100% of TV shows and Movies you can't stream one byte in HD on any device except your TV even shows that were not on FOX.

I did give a link to your thread, the top post of which explains about Epix, Fox and Paramount.

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post #17 of 17 Old 07-13-2013, 11:30 AM
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I do notice that some shows are in HD that I know are just upconverted while there are titles that are not even in HD that I know were. It is still not as bad as Amazon were most if its content even stuff that broadcasted on the networks in HD they only have in SD and looks pretty bad.

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