I signed up for Netflix last night and did a few test runs on my new Panasonic 50UT50 TV, using the built in Panasonic Smart Viera Netflix app. I found that most content starts at "Medium SD" and eventually settles into Medium HD, but will bounce around between Medium SD, High SD and Medium HD (never Low HD for some reason).
From what I understand this is still not the highest level of quality available from Netflix (order being: Low SD, Medium SD, High SD, Low HD
Medium HD, High HD, X-High HD).
I also played a few trailers and 2 min previews on the Vudu app, and was able to use X-HD with full 3 green bars no problem, from the start of each sample video without any drop in quality. Based on this, I don't think the problem is my network or connection, it's either server load on Netflix end (I can test early in the morning for this I guess) or a setting in the app somewhere that I can't find.
Netflix on Medium/High HD is certainly watchable, but noticeably worse quality (especially in dark scenes, macroblocking/dithering) than the Vudu material I previewed. I know current Netflix will not match Vudu X-HD, but I'm ok with that since it's cheaper. I just want the maximum quality Netflix will provide given their server load. Is there anything I can do? On the Netflix webpage I have my preferences set to the highest quality, but I think that only affects browser playback.
*Using Unblock-us DNS to access US Netflix from Canada
*Cable internet 25mbit down/2.5mbit up - tested with Speedtest provides the rated speeds in both directions
*Linksys 310N Router w/ DD-WRT
*D-Link 500AV -> D-Link DHP-540 Powerline ethernet - tested at 90mbit via SMB share read/write, low latency (~10ms to local router)
*Panasonic 50UT50 TV with latest firmware