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post #1 of 35 Old 11-02-2013, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Do you have fast Internet access, a Netflix subscription, and a UHDTV or 4K projector? Then you might want to take a look at the latest addition to the Netflix instant streaming library. The company recently added its first 4K/UHD videos, several versions of an eight minute short film called "El Fuente" that shows various colorful scenes from Mexico.

 

The video is available in 4K/UHD at various frame rates, since it is meant for internal testing at Netflix. I tried it on my 1080p HDTV, because I do not own a UHDTV. The video certainly looked gorgeous, and I was able to stream all the versions, including the highest bitrate. However, my Internet service is rated at 100Mbps, so I expected it to work. Ultimately, I wish I could see the full-resolution version—it is not entirely clear if the HD versions I watched were derived from the full 4K/UHD streams.

 

El Fuente, the first streaming 4K/UHD video offering from Netflix

 

Netflix plans to provide its hit show "House of Cards" as a 4K/UHD stream at some point in the near future. It remains to be seen if 2014 will mark the debut of 4K/UHD on Netflix, but whenever that happens, I expect that even viewers with 1080p HDTVs will see an improvement in overall streaming quality versus the company's current HD offerings. It could be a win-win situation for videophiles with limited budgets but fast Internet connections, as well as early adopters of true UHDTvs and 4K projectors who want access to 4K content, which is currently quite scarce.

 

Quote:
"The six videos have been recorded at 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50 and 59.94 frames per second. The 4K videos can also be viewed on standard high definition televisions, but likely down-scaled to 1080p or 720p resolution." - Digital Trends

 

Posting this test video is a promising sign that Netflix will meet its stated goal of providing streaming 4K/UHD content to its customers sometime next year.

 

Quote:
"CEO Reed Hastings said on a recent earnings call that "we want to be one of the big suppliers of 4K next year." Source: The Verge

 

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post #2 of 35 Old 11-02-2013, 08:14 PM
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Too bad the majority of the country doesn't have fast enough internet and don't want to wait 5+ hours for it to download.................

Other than that....hurray
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post #3 of 35 Old 11-03-2013, 12:58 AM
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Mark, could you please comment on the Audio side of Netflix' 4k/UHD test video. Channels, compression, format, etc.

Thanks!
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post #4 of 35 Old 11-03-2013, 06:00 PM
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is MP some kind of new term ? is it the rate they encoded the vid? the size? streaming target?
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post #5 of 35 Old 11-03-2013, 06:15 PM
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24mp to 50mp looked the same. The 2997 and 5994mp looked a little different with what seemed like a higher frame rate.

I don't know if i should judge from this since it's just a test. But i was hoping 4K streaming downscaled to 1080p sets would at least match bluray quality.
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post #6 of 35 Old 11-03-2013, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
The video is available in 4K/UHD at various bitrates, since it is meant for internal testing at Netflix. I tried it on my 1080p HDTV, because I do not own a UHDTV. The video certainly looked gorgeous, and I was able to stream all the versions, including the highest bitrate.

How would you do that? Your 1080p does not have a 4K downscaler built-in.

Netflix uses adaptive streaming. The 4K videos available on Netflix now are layered just like any other video on Netflix right now. They also contain SD, 720p and 1080p versions. You are getting the 1080p version right now, not the 4K version. smile.gif
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post #7 of 35 Old 11-03-2013, 10:03 PM
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Looks promising to me - downloaded buffer was about 10 seconds (5994 MP) with my Comcast 50 mb download rate- for this 8 minute "test" run on my new XBR55X850A in 4k.
Colors pop- transitions crisps & smooth- pretty comparable to the shorts that came with the Sony FMP-X1 4K Ultra HD Media Player.
Waiting to see what full features besides House of Cards that Netflix will have available. cool.gif
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post #8 of 35 Old 11-03-2013, 10:34 PM
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steve1a: Are you sure that you were getting the 4K version from Netflix? I'm not sure the Netflix app in Sony's SEN platform supports more than 1080p.
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post #9 of 35 Old 11-03-2013, 10:40 PM
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well I dont have a 2160p monitor but I do have a 1600p and even with that I was able to notice a difference between their 1080 HD, 1080 SuperHD, and their "4k at various bit rates." It did take a minute or two to buffer for HD on their highest end video and Im on a 70mb connection.

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post #10 of 35 Old 11-04-2013, 03:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmistar View Post


How would you do that? Your 1080p does not have a 4K downscaler built-in.

Netflix uses adaptive streaming. The 4K videos available on Netflix now are layered just like any other video on Netflix right now. They also contain SD, 720p and 1080p versions. You are getting the 1080p version right now, not the 4K version. smile.gif

 

That's why I conclude the second paragraph with this: "Ultimately, I wish I could see the full-resolution version—it is not entirely clear if the HD versions I watched were derived from the full 4K/UHD streams."

 

With Youtube, I can stream 4K videos and my PC downscales to 1080p. Same goes for 4K MP4 video that I render from a video editor—plays back, downscales perfectly.


I added this bit from Digital Trends:
 

Quote:
"The six videos have been recorded at 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50 and 59.94 frames per second. The 4K videos can also be viewed on standard high definition televisions, but likely down-scaled to 1080p or 720p resolution." - Digital Trends

 

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post #11 of 35 Old 11-04-2013, 05:05 AM
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Not everyone has a wide enough bandwidth for this, but enough do to make this viable. Just one more piece falling into place to make 4K a reality.
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post #12 of 35 Old 11-04-2013, 08:42 AM
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If Netflix could only get 1080p working correctly then this might spark some interest from me. Using my Roku XDS with Netflix I can barely ever get anything better than 2 or 3 dots of quality for any of their "HD" denoted content. Using Amazon Prime streaming on the exact same device and connection I can get flawless 1080p on the exact same titles (ex. The Avengers).

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post #13 of 35 Old 11-04-2013, 10:01 AM
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Infrastructure AMERICA! We don't need free healthcare or lower taxes...we need 100 million miles more fiber optic cable laid...and quick, before we get behind a season on something again!eek.gif
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post #14 of 35 Old 11-04-2013, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingLeerUK View Post

If Netflix could only get 1080p working correctly then this might spark some interest from me. Using my Roku XDS with Netflix I can barely ever get anything better than 2 or 3 dots of quality for any of their "HD" denoted content. Using Amazon Prime streaming on the exact same device and connection I can get flawless 1080p on the exact same titles (ex. The Avengers).

As far as I know, Amazon Prime video is still limited to 720p. It's very good-looking 720p, but by definition it is not "flawless 1080p."


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post #15 of 35 Old 11-04-2013, 10:23 AM
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Its a shame I had a more consistent picture with my dsl from att then I do with comcast. I wtached 3 hours of arrested development last night at 480 streaming for 80 percent of that 3 hour window. Not sure if it is comcast of netflix but I NEVER had that problem with my dsl. Every time I run a speed test I run 20 mbps so makes me wonder if netflix is overloaded or comcast is throttling. either way always got the 1080 hd stream with my 6 mbps dsl.
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post #16 of 35 Old 11-04-2013, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

That's why I conclude the second paragraph with this: "Ultimately, I wish I could see the full-resolution version—it is not entirely clear if the HD versions I watched were derived from the full 4K/UHD streams."



With Youtube, I can stream 4K videos and my PC downscales to 1080p. Same goes for 4K MP4 video that I render from a video editor—plays back, downscales perfectly.


I added this bit from Digital Trends:

The netflix client doesnt work like that. It knows what the output resolution is of the device, and that sets the maximum resolution of the netflix stream.

you can easily test this out by setting 720p resolution output on your favorite netflix STB. watch the netflix stream only reach 720p @ 3000kbps .. .even if you have all the bandwith in the world.

it makes no sense to receive a higher resolution stream to then downscale it to something else.
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post #17 of 35 Old 11-04-2013, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

As far as I know, Amazon Prime video is still limited to 720p. It's very good-looking 720p, but by definition it is not "flawless 1080p."

No. Amazon streaming is now offered at 1080p with dolby digital plus audio.

the samsung 2013 bluray players support this and the recently released samsung smart media player.
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post #18 of 35 Old 11-04-2013, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by apw2607 View Post


No. Amazon streaming is now offered at 1080p with dolby digital plus audio.

the samsung 2013 bluray players support this and the recently released samsung smart media player.

Thanks that is good to know.


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post #19 of 35 Old 11-04-2013, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

As far as I know, Amazon Prime video is still limited to 720p. It's very good-looking 720p, but by definition it is not "flawless 1080p."

As another member has mentioned, 1080p from Amazon Prime is now available for some titles. My point is that ALL ELSE being the same, Netflix cannot deliver a 1080p or "HD" experience to my Roku XDS while just one channel over Amazon Prime does. My Internet service at home is nothing remarkable, but it only has to support the viewing and browsing habits of a solitary homeowner and IT IS sufficient for streaming HD content. This points to deficits in the delivery infrastructure that Netflix uses for its content, whereas Amazon seems to have risen to the challenge with success.

To summarise another way; if Netflix can't even get 1080p right (for me) then my confidence in them being able to provide UHD/4k is basically nil for the foreseeable future.
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post #20 of 35 Old 11-05-2013, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

I added this bit from Digital Trends:

Quote:
"The six videos have been recorded at 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50 and 59.94 frames per second. The 4K videos can also be viewed on standard high definition televisions, but likely down-scaled to 1080p or 720p resolution." - Digital Trends

Sure, but then you're not viewing the 4K version. Downscaled obviously but not on your device. It has been downscaled in the studio. There's a lot of content on Netflix that has been mastered in 4K in the studio and then downscaled. That's how most Hollywood movies gets made today.

Silverlight in Web browser cannot go to 4K right now.
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post #21 of 35 Old 11-05-2013, 04:07 AM
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As apw2607 explained, and which I think is crucial to understand, is that Netflix operates with layers and adaptive streaming.

Every single video on Netflix exists in many different versions. All videos, including the 4K test clips, exist in SD, 720p, 1080p Super HD (1080p at higher bitrate), and now soon a 4K layer (maybe more than one, with varying bitrates).

So, when you guys are streaming the 4K test clips through a Web browser, you are actually only streaming a 720p version at 3 Mb/s bitrate. Take the Apple TV or PS3 or a recent Smart TV and you can go to the Super HD layer.

But right now there is no way to stream the 4K test clips in 4K resolution, no matter how fast your internet connection is.
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post #22 of 35 Old 11-05-2013, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmistar View Post

As apw2607 explained, and which I think is crucial to understand, is that Netflix operates with layers and adaptive streaming.

Every single video on Netflix exists in many different versions. All videos, including the 4K test clips, exist in SD, 720p, 1080p Super HD (1080p at higher bitrate), and now soon a 4K layer (maybe more than one, with varying bitrates).

So, when you guys are streaming the 4K test clips through a Web browser, you are actually only streaming a 720p version at 3 Mb/s bitrate. Take the Apple TV or PS3 or a recent Smart TV and you can go to the Super HD layer.

But right now there is no way to stream the 4K test clips in 4K resolution, no matter how fast your internet connection is.

 

For what it's worth, watching Netflix through a browser is sub-optimal. I recommend the Windows 8 app for HTPC Netflix streaming. It supports SuperHD and Dolby Digital+, just like STBs and Smart TVs.

 

El Fuente is not listed as a SuperHD file despite streaming with impressive fidelity—in fact during playback there is no "HD" indicator whatsoever. There is no evidence of an intermediate-quality (720p) stream being used, which is a behavior I see with normal movies. With El Fuente, it's either SD or it is razor sharp. Not sure what's going on there, but I would need more evidence to accept the scenario you describe as absolute fact, although I am inclined to agree with you.


As it stands, it is not clear how these videos are treated by Netflix—and yeah, I have no way to actually watch it even if it was coming through in UHD. Numerous articles state that subscribers with UHDTVs can watch El Fuente with full UHD resolution. Perhaps that's exclusive to the built-in apps on the latest UHDTVs.

 

Of course, the actual difference in quality between high-end 1080p and UHD is very difficult to discern—and highly content-dependant.

Since Netflix allowed SuperHD on all networks, I have started to use it again. The quality is very good, for older movies it's all the resolution and quality I need to get a full cinematic experience. Hopefully UHD streams can do the same for modern movies.


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post #23 of 35 Old 11-05-2013, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

For what it's worth, watching Netflix through a browser is sub-optimal. I recommend the Windows 8 app for HTPC Netflix streaming. It supports SuperHD and Dolby Digital+, just like STBs and Smart TVs.

El Fuente is not listed as a SuperHD file despite streaming with impressive fidelity—in fact during playback there is no "HD" indicator whatsoever. There is no evidence of an intermediate-quality (720p) stream being used, which is a behavior I see with normal movies. With El Fuente, it's either SD or it is razor sharp. Not sure what's going on there, but I would need more evidence to accept the scenario you describe as absolute fact, although I am inclined to agree with you.


As it stands, it is not clear how these videos are treated by Netflix—and yeah, I have no way to actually watch it even if it was coming through in UHD. Numerous articles state that subscribers with UHDTVs can watch El Fuente with full UHD resolution. Perhaps that's exclusive to the built-in apps on the latest UHDTVs.

Of course, the actual difference in quality between high-end 1080p and UHD is very difficult to discern—and highly content-dependant.


Since Netflix allowed SuperHD on all networks, I have started to use it again. The quality is very good, for older movies it's all the resolution and quality I need to get a full cinematic experience. Hopefully UHD streams can do the same for modern movies.

Some STBs provide an info overlay on the stream depending on the version of the netflix client. infact one of the newer netflix client versions (available on the tivo roamio), not only indicates resolution but also the bitrate of the stream, so indeed you can determine exactly what you are watching.
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post #24 of 35 Old 11-06-2013, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

For what it's worth, watching Netflix through a browser is sub-optimal. I recommend the Windows 8 app for HTPC Netflix streaming. It supports SuperHD and Dolby Digital+, just like STBs and Smart TVs.

El Fuente is not listed as a SuperHD file despite streaming with impressive fidelity—in fact during playback there is no "HD" indicator whatsoever. There is no evidence of an intermediate-quality (720p) stream being used, which is a behavior I see with normal movies. With El Fuente, it's either SD or it is razor sharp. Not sure what's going on there, but I would need more evidence to accept the scenario you describe as absolute fact, although I am inclined to agree with you.

Yes, the app for Windows 8 can go to 1080p, but not higher at the moment. Technically it can, but Netflix treats it as a 1080p receiver.

But it is very easy to confirm, Mark. This is basically how Netflix works. It's their magic sauce. You can confirm it on a PS3 by clicking the Select button during playback, and on many other STBs.

Also remember that the El Fuente clips are created from 4K studio masters. There is very little movement in there, so it doesn't require a very high bitrate to render something that looks great. Netflix uses EyeIQ's special H.264 compression technology (Sony is using the same for its 4K download service), and it does an excellent job at relatively low bitrates.
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

As it stands, it is not clear how these videos are treated by Netflix—and yeah, I have no way to actually watch it even if it was coming through in UHD. Numerous articles state that subscribers with UHDTVs can watch El Fuente with full UHD resolution. Perhaps that's exclusive to the built-in apps on the latest UHDTVs.

Numerous articles on the subject are wrong :-) So much misinformation out there, unfortunately. I'll reserve judgement for the built-in Netflix apps in 4K TVs, but I'm not too optimistic. They would basically have to support H.264 level 5.2 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC) to playback the El Fuente 60 Hz demo at 4K resolution - and don't think the TVs support that level.
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post #25 of 35 Old 11-06-2013, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

There is no evidence of an intermediate-quality (720p) stream being used, which is a behavior I see with normal movies. With El Fuente, it's either SD or it is razor sharp.

Just a quick addition. It exists in many layers, even many SD layers with varying bitrate. There is also a 720p layer, which I confirmed a few days ago from a PC through the web browser. And there's a 1080p layer, which I confirmed through the PS3 and it's A/V stats feature.

You have very fast internet so you are probably seeing a very fast reaction from the Netflix client. It always starts at one of the lowest layers to make sure that videos start playing as quickly as possible, but then your client has probably jumped directly to the 1080p Super HD layer from there.
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I could care less that Netflix is trying to get people to stream 4k (what a joke for those not on gigabit fiber or some sweet connection that most of us don't have here in the U.S.).

What I do care about is how Netflix CROPS all their movies now to 16x9. It's the new pan and scan. Forget about cinemascope or even 1.85:1. Everything has to fill up the screen completely or else cause consternation and endless complaints from Joe Six Pack about "those black bars."

/rant

In any case, as long as Netflix continues to crop widescreen movies, I will not watch movies on Netflix and will probably cancel my subscription with them (although I may just swtich back over to their blu-ray mailing service, which I noticed recently has been woefully downgraded to just one option: one movie out at a time, unlimited). At least Amazon Instand Video is not doing that, or at least not for all their movies.
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I watched the clip this evening and it looks very nice on an 84" LG 4k TV (via the built in Netflix app). While clearly much better than broadcast HD, not sure it's full 4k I'm seeing. The resolution definitely looks higher than 1080p, which makes me think yes, but there is pixelation in motion scenes and noise in dark areas suggesting a decent amount of compression at a minimum. The 4k I have watched from my HTPC looks better from full resolution UHD files downloaded from Youtube servers and played via VLC (via nVidia Titan video card). So in sum, very good, but not quite as good a less compressed sources (and either due to some smoothing or compression, doesn't look like quite 4k resolution; or perhaps there are limits on the resolution playback via LG's netflix app; the clip says SuperHD on the netflix page fwiw when I went to the 24fps version).

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post #28 of 35 Old 11-06-2013, 10:10 PM
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silverlight: Is there any way to get A/V stats from the built in Netflix app in LG's 4K TV? Maybe LG knows?

I'm very interested in how the Netflix apps in 4K Smart TVs respond to the new 4K layer. :-)
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post #29 of 35 Old 11-07-2013, 05:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmistar View Post

silverlight: Is there any way to get A/V stats from the built in Netflix app in LG's 4K TV? Maybe LG knows?

I'm very interested in how the Netflix apps in 4K Smart TVs respond to the new 4K layer. :-)

When watching any other source I can get the info bar across the top, but I tried to do that too last night during Netflix playback to determine the stats as you with various info buttons and it wouldn't respond. I can try to do a little digging around on this, definitely would be nice to know for a lot of reasons!

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post #30 of 35 Old 11-09-2013, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by impetigo View Post

I could care less that Netflix is trying to get people to stream 4k (what a joke for those not on gigabit fiber or some sweet connection that most of us don't have here in the U.S.).

What I do care about is how Netflix CROPS all their movies now to 16x9. It's the new pan and scan. Forget about cinemascope or even 1.85:1. Everything has to fill up the screen completely or else cause consternation and endless complaints from Joe Six Pack about "those black bars."

/rant

In any case, as long as Netflix continues to crop widescreen movies, I will not watch movies on Netflix and will probably cancel my subscription with them (although I may just swtich back over to their blu-ray mailing service, which I noticed recently has been woefully downgraded to just one option: one movie out at a time, unlimited). At least Amazon Instand Video is not doing that, or at least not for all their movies.

Not all movies are cropped. And the ones that are i've heard it's the studio that sends it like that to netflix.
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