Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland
Is there a way to see what the actual bit rates are? Folks must understand bit rates can change with each title and subject to change with different encodes for the same title. With data caps implemented or being implemented I would say the IPTV providers are interested in lower bit rates, not higher.
Apparently some AVRs will tell you the bit rate of the sound stream they're processing, though not mine (it will tell me the format and the sample rate). I suspect that Netflix's sound encodings are CBR, but I can't prove it.
Netflix obviously wants to reach the largest group of customers for their streaming video service as possible and for that reason tries to keep the bit rate of their streams as low as they reasonable can, but 4800 Kbps 1080p video plus 384 Kbps for 5.1 sound is only 5.2 Mbps and you don't need network service any faster than 7 Mbps to stay ahead of that (6 might do it if available bandwidth on your connection to their servers is always rock solid). Not everyone requires their highest quality video and sound and the 192 Kbps stereo encodings are pretty good, with Pro Logic matrixed surround elements usually intact. Right now titles with available DD+ sound are a minor subset of their library, being only about 1000 (7% or so; about a third of their titles have available HD video encodings).
Certainly this doesn't compare with lossless audio on BDs. The name of the game in streaming is convenience, not maximum quality. I never said that Netflix's DD+ 5.1 sound was the best available, just that it was very good and possibly better than DD 5.1 on DVDs.
I'm not such an avid A/V-ophile as to require the finest quality from everything that I watch, and I can't afford the top spec equipment with which to enjoy it in any case. I want to see the big screen, big sound blockbuster special effects extravaganzas on BD first, but good-to-excellent quality streaming or downloads (ala VUDU, etc) are good enough for most things. Anything to keep from having to drag my lazy ass out to obtain a disc or even to walk across the room to find and insert one into a drive