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Netflix streaming quality - Page 10

post #271 of 5424
So, what you're saying is that Netflix HD streaming is just as good as the worst Blu-rays? Okay, but there's some pretty crappy transfers on Blu-ray out there .

umenon, framerate shouldn't be an issue, since Netflix is 24 fps, just like Blu-ray.

Netflix HD isn't even worth comparing to the best streaming video I've seen, being Zune Video on the Xbox (I've heard that Vudu is amazing as well, though I haven't seen it). I'm fairly certain that I personally wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the best Blu-ray and a Zune Video 1080p24 stream. Some of the things I've watched there give that same "woah!" experience you get watching the best Blu-ray and it has digital surround sound. (If you have an Xbox, check out the trailer for Planet 51). Of course, the bandwidth requirements to get that 1080p24 stream are significantly higher and it's much more costly than Netflix WI (for those of us who were Netflix subs before the streaming came along, it's essentially free).
post #272 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

So, what you're saying is that Netflix HD streaming is just as good as the worst Blu-rays? Okay, but there's some pretty crappy transfers on Blu-ray out there ..


It's not that they look bad, it's that some of them look as good as they ever will.

Like, sure a current film with a high quality transfer like Jarhead on blu-ray will look noticeable better than the netflix HD stream.
Comparatively, I seriously doubt that other than a slight bump in resolution, John Candy's Uncle Buck will ever look better if it was released on blu-ray or broadcast in HD on OTA in the near future.
post #273 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

So, what you're saying is that Netflix HD streaming is just as good as the worst Blu-rays? Okay, but there's some pretty crappy transfers on Blu-ray out there .

umenon, framerate shouldn't be an issue, since Netflix is 24 fps, just like Blu-ray.

Netflix HD isn't even worth comparing to the best streaming video I've seen, being Zune Video on the Xbox (I've heard that Vudu is amazing as well, though I haven't seen it). I'm fairly certain that I personally wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the best Blu-ray and a Zune Video 1080p24 stream. Some of the things I've watched there give that same "woah!" experience you get watching the best Blu-ray and it has digital surround sound. (If you have an Xbox, check out the trailer for Planet 51). Of course, the bandwidth requirements to get that 1080p24 stream are significantly higher and it's much more costly than Netflix WI (for those of us who were Netflix subs before the streaming came along, it's essentially free).

I think the tv has alot to do with the quality you see.... most people do not have large high end tv's like most of those around here. That makes a BIG difference in being able to tell a difference between netflix/ota and bluray. I'd say a vast majority of the tv's out there would be very hard pressed to tell a difference even with bluray's best content.

That said I will actually be pretty surprised if netflix does not adopt the same tech as zune video (as early as this year). Netflix is using silverlight/vc1 for their streams and ms would be able to bill it as an exclusive again (the only console to get 1080p smoothstreaming with 5.1 audio). Thats one big advantage the online services will always have over physical media..... quicker turnaround in upgrades. (just look at how far the interface/quality has come since it initially was launched)
post #274 of 5424
Netflix is now using VC-1 on the Xbox360:
http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/engin...og/default.htm

They also implemented some other features.
post #275 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagouar View Post

Netflix is using silverlight/vc1 for their streams and ms would be able to bill it as an exclusive again (the only console to get 1080p smoothstreaming with 5.1 audio).

Netflix uses the adaptive streaming in Silverlight 2.0 and only for the PC player; I'm fairly sure that the encodings they created for that are not in the right format for IIS Smooth Streaming which came out in Silverlight 3.0. I guess that it's possible that it could be adapted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by moviegeek View Post

Netflix is now using VC-1 on the Xbox360:
http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/engin...og/default.htm

They also implemented some other features.

That happened in an update back in a August and I asked in the Netflix forums about what was going on and got a response from one of their principle developers briefly explaining the switch to the VC1 encodes (here), but thank you very much for that link! It reveals a lot of information about that update not documented anywhere else. I'd discovered a few things, like the paging function, by experiment and accident, but not nearly all of that.
post #276 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Netflix uses the adaptive streaming in Silverlight 2.0 and only for the PC player; I'm fairly sure that the encodings they created for that are not in the right format for IIS Smooth Streaming which came out in Silverlight 3.0. I guess that it's possible that it could be adapted.

I don't fully understand how the new smoothstreaming tech works but I don't think the current files are compatible with silverlight 3.0's smoothstreaming tech (and certainly not 1080p w/ 5.1 audio).

Part of the reason I think this happens this year is because netflix has to move to silverlight 3 at some point and from what Ive read netflix created custom encodes for the ps3 version (since it cant support the same codecs as the xbox). The fact that they have custom encodes now virtually guarantees ms will want their 1080p smoothstreaming tech running netflix (because it really is that much better than any other streaming tech out there right now). And you know netflix has to be looking at ways to appease ms for going around their exclusivity agreement with the ps3 and wii with the disc option. I could see something maybe being said at e3 but I don't know if they will announce anything since natal is going to be the big push for xbox this year.

This is also more anecdotal evidence on my part but a large number of the movies on netflix (the more recent ones) do not have the thumbnail images when you ff/rw. This is telling to me because they used to have them ready to go when a new movie was released but now they do not and if they move to smoothstreaming those thumbnails are no longer necessary. They would have to begin reencoding all the movies now for smoothstreaming (if it was going to be ready around e3 time)
post #277 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagouar View Post

I don't fully understand how the new smoothstreaming tech works but I don't think the current files are compatible with silverlight 3.0's smoothstreaming tech (and certainly not 1080p w/ 5.1 audio).

Part of the reason I think this happens this year is because netflix has to move to silverlight 3 at some point and from what Ive read netflix created custom encodes for the ps3 version (since it cant support the same codecs as the xbox). The fact that they have custom encodes now virtually guarantees ms will want their 1080p smoothstreaming tech running netflix (because it really is that much better than any other streaming tech out there right now). And you know netflix has to be looking at ways to appease ms for going around their exclusivity agreement with the ps3 and wii with the disc option. I could see something maybe being said at e3 but I don't know if they will announce anything since natal is going to be the big push for xbox this year.

This is also more anecdotal evidence on my part but a large number of the movies on netflix (the more recent ones) do not have the thumbnail images when you ff/rw. This is telling to me because they used to have them ready to go when a new movie was released but now they do not and if they move to smoothstreaming those thumbnails are no longer necessary. They would have to begin reencoding all the movies now for smoothstreaming (if it was going to be ready around e3 time)

Smooth Streaming is one thing, 1080p Smooth Streaming with 5.1 sound is something else altogether. I doubt that Netflix's content providers would allow that--it's letting them "give away" too much "high value" content, reducing the value of BDs of those titles. Of course, if they will allow it, it would be a tremendous coup for Microsoft.

Maybe they could have it and allow access to the highest quality streams for some kind of premium paid to Netflix to be kicked back to the content providers.
post #278 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Smooth Streaming is one thing, 1080p Smooth Streaming with 5.1 sound is something else altogether. I doubt that Netflix's content providers would allow that--it's letting them "give away" too much "high value" content, reducing the value of BDs of those titles. Of course, if they will allow it, it would be a tremendous coup for Microsoft.

Maybe they could have it and allow access to the highest quality streams for some kind of premium paid to Netflix to be kicked back to the content providers.

I have never heard of a content provider charging more for a 1080p version over 720p. They only license SD and HD content differently and netflix already licenses HD content from a few sources.
post #279 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagouar View Post

I have never heard of a content provider charging more for a 1080p version over 720p. They only license SD and HD content differently and netflix already licenses HD content from a few sources.

Vudu, the one source I know of selling and renting both lower and higher-quality HD video absolutely charges more for their higher quality "HDX" version. The current Netflix "HD" streams, never higher quality than 3.4 Mbps 720p24 with stereo sound, are so inferior to the 1080p24 Smooth Streaming with digital surround Zune Video stuff that it's senseless to compare them. Netflix WI HD encodings may be technically "HD" but it's really not comparable to any other form of HD (except perhaps when there's no decent HD transfer of a film).

I don't know what Netflix is paying to the studios for the right to stream these low-quality versions, but I have to think that the studios are going to want more to allow them to stream vastly higher quality. I still doubt that they're going to allow it, period. What's in it for them? There will be people who would have bought Blu-ray discs of movies and Blu-ray boxed season sets of their favorite television series who won't if they can stream them from Netflix at very nearly equal PQ and good AQ, without having to get up and search for physical discs. Except for a few AV-ophile freaks like us, Netflix customers who use WI are tickled pink with what they're getting now, paying nothing more than they'd pay to rent discs alone. We'll see.
post #280 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagouar View Post

I have never heard of a content provider charging more for a 1080p version over 720p. They only license SD and HD content differently and netflix already licenses HD content from a few sources.

I think it is here to stay and it makes sense. Vudu does it with 1080/24p HDX rental and the bonus is with Dolby Digital+ audio as well. There is no doubt that the 1080 version is worth the extra $. They always have a $ .99 rental each day in each format, and a couple of weeks ago I rented all three versions (normally $3.99 for SD, $4.99 for HD and $5.99 for HDX (1080/24p) for new realeases) of "A Very Long Engagement" (decent film, good picture and sound) just to compare.

SD=watchable, probably DVD quality
HD=good, better than Netflix by a mile
HDX= WOW. The Blu Ray would have to be super to be better.


I think Vudu does the transfers themselves?
post #281 of 5424
HD Netflix at full quality looks great, IMO. And I'm a Blu-ray videophile.
post #282 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by b_scott View Post

HD Netflix at full quality looks great, IMO. And I'm a Blu-ray videophile.

But HD @ NF is highly dependent on your connection bandwidth, no? I tried it briefly and it was so bad as to be unwatchable. I consider myself a videophile as well, and anything short of the bit for bit master is a downgrade. Until we are working with uncompressed video, any time the material is decoded and reencoded we are going to have loss. Perhaps with a fat pipe connection and a 50" flatscreen the average viewer won't notice. But when I tried NF on a 8' wide screen via a Tivo HD, as I said is was unwatchable. Compression artifacts were abundant and the banding was horrendous.
post #283 of 5424
true, it's dependent on connection but if your bars say "HD" I believe it's mostly the same encode. Even so, I was saying "at full quality" - which is all I ever have since most of my NF devices are hard wired to a 6 meg connection.

I don't know how it would look on a 96" screen though, so I can't say...
post #284 of 5424
I'm happy for you that you like Netflix WI HD; it's decent and I've enjoyed using it, but none of it is even close to Blu-ray, except, perhaps, where the transfer on the Blu-ray is poor. I've seen 1080p streaming video that's greatly superior, with digital surround sound, so good that it'd be difficult to tell the difference from Blu-ray. I don't expect Netflix to deliver anything similar in their current business model. I would be willing to pay a reasonable monthly premium for access to such.
post #285 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I'm happy for you that you like Netflix WI HD; it's decent and I've enjoyed using it, but none of it is even close to Blu-ray, except, perhaps, where the transfer on the Blu-ray is poor. I've seen 1080p streaming video that's greatly superior, with digital surround sound, so good that it'd be difficult to tell the difference from Blu-ray. I don't expect Netflix to deliver anything similar in their current business model. I would be willing to pay a reasonable monthly premium for access to such.

This is what I meant. The 1080/24 streams are far, far superior to Netflix streaming-- and I have some of the fastest connection speeds available (I routinely hit 35+ Mbps), so it is not that the HD is down rezzed.

My point is that I would pay a premium (let's say $1) per stream for that kind of quality for new releases through Netflix. NF will have to do something of that sort in that most people do not rent older catalog titles- they will have to offer new releases at some point.
post #286 of 5424
I tried Netflix streaming on PC. It really sucks, not for the quality compression itself (which is poor!) but for the only SD version available with the wrong encoding method. I don't know if they get the SD source from the DVD but it seems they took the 30p with 3:2 pulldown source and encoded to 30p for streaming. Videos on 72hz panel are definitely with a lot shutter and ghosting (created by deinterlacing) which it makes impossible to watch for me. I hope that 720HD is 24p and far better in quality.
So for standalone devices the max quality is 720p24 stereo?
post #287 of 5424
I do not think NF will go to Silverlight 3.0. Reed Hastings has said that the future for streaming is in HTML 5.0 which does away with the need for a plug-in.

The one or two times I have tried steaming on my PC it was unwatchable.

1080p24 with DD HD steaming (downloading is another matter) would seem to be not practical for for most user at this time. 720P with DD 5.1 would some kind of MPEG-4 codec would be more feasible at this time. But NF is going to have to change from serving their customer with the most lowest common denominator. In other words they are going to have to raise the bar on quality. With the growth they are seeing with the bar set so low, they really have no incentive, at this time, to raise the bar.
post #288 of 5424
I have an Xbox that I just started to use for streaming Netflix. Why does all the 4:3 HD content (ex. Wages Of fear, For All Mankind) get stretched? I can't seem to get the proper aspect ratio. My display will allow me to change aspect ratio while displaying 720p, 1080i, 1080p.
post #289 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePrisoner View Post

I have an Xbox that I just started to use for streaming Netflix. Why does all the 4:3 HD content (ex. Wages Of fear, For All Mankind) get stretched? I can't seem to get the proper aspect ratio. My display will allow me to change aspect ratio while displaying 720p, 1080i, 1080p.

I don't know if it can be generalized to "all". For instance, Star Trek: Season One is HD in 4:3 and it's not stretched. (Well, it was in unstretched 4:3--it's fallen off of the Watch Instantly list).

I notice that both of those titles have the Criterion Collection distributor logo--maybe the source that they're getting it from is pre-stretched.
post #290 of 5424
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I don't know if it can be generalized to "all". For instance, Star Trek: Season One is HD in 4:3 and it's not stretched. (Well, it was in unstretched 4:3--it's fallen off of the Watch Instantly list).

I notice that both of those titles have the Criterion Collection distributor logo--maybe the source that they're getting it from is pre-stretched.

Thank you. I just watched some of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington which is HD and it is displayed in 4:3. Must be a Criterion thing as you mentioned.
post #291 of 5424
No, Netflix streaming isn't the absolute best quality available, but it's got a heck of a lot more content than anything else out there, and it's a much more appealing pricing structure as well. Once my current Comcast promotion expires, I am seriously debating cancelling my Comcast subscription and just using broadcast OTA HD for sports coverage. I think a lot of you are missing the current advantage of Netflix. It's not even a threat to Blu-Ray at this point, and to even suggest that the quality is that good would be laughable. However, the quality is EASILY as good as or better than the 1080i and 720p broadcasts I've seen latley through Comcast. I actually prefer to use Netflix now for most of my shows versus my DVR, since the quality is better. How many of you are paying for cable or sattelite service? Food for thought.
post #292 of 5424
in Chicago, our Comcast great really stellar picture. I would never want to replace it with Netflix, which even though it has really decent HD picture, it's not up to the cable quality. But that could just be Chicago - in Peoria, IL, my parents' comcast doesn't look that great - probably because they have a lot of analog stuff to take up the bandwidth and Chicago has been fully digital for awhile.
post #293 of 5424
I'm in metro Atlanta, and I wouldn't say the Comcast signal is terrible (probably slightly better than average), but lately I get less macroblocking and compression artifacts on Netflix than I do over Comcast. It wasn't always this way either. In fact, the quality of the streams appears to be getting progressively better, and it's much more noticeable on my 120" projection screen than it is on my smaller screens. I don't think my cable has degraded either. I just don't know if I'll get $60+ of value out of it monthly to keep it after the promotion I'm currently under.

Either way, in the long run, my decision will come down to price/selection first and quality second. Quality is important, but I find either acceptable for casual watching at this point. I may not be in the norm, but with the onset of DVR, I gradually started watching a lot more recorded content than live TV. As long as Netflix can fill the void in what I'd like to watch in a true a la carte fashion(that's still questionable at this point, but Netflix has been expanding to a lot of newer TV series), I don't think I'd hesitate to drop Comcast cable TV. I'd still rely on them for my internet though .
post #294 of 5424
Dark Rider said:

"No, Netflix streaming isn't the absolute best quality available, but it's got a heck of a lot more content than anything else out there, and it's a much more appealing pricing structure as well. Once my current Comcast promotion expires, I am seriously debating cancelling my Comcast subscription and just using broadcast OTA HD for sports coverage. I think a lot of you are missing the current advantage of Netflix. It's not even a threat to Blu-Ray at this point, and to even suggest that the quality is that good would be laughable. However, the quality is EASILY as good as or better than the 1080i and 720p broadcasts I've seen latley through Comcast. I actually prefer to use Netflix now for most of my shows versus my DVR, since the quality is better. How many of you are paying for cable or sattelite service? Food for thought."

What he said.

+ 1000
post #295 of 5424
Is the LG BD390 using the same VC1 HD streams (2.6 and 3.8 Mbps) as the XBOX360. The reason for asking is that the better HD streams (Lost, Heroes) etc seem to look a little better on my XBOX360 (both look pretty good). The BD390 also seems to drop out HD occasionally - however the XBOX360 seems rock solid on HD streaming. Both are connected wired to the same router and playing back on the same TV. The BD390 has been set up using Blu-ray calibration disks - the XBOX360 is using default settings. My DSL is 5Mbpps
post #296 of 5424
Obviously the Xbox and your BD player are running different code on radically different platforms, so comparisons aren't very fair. The Xbox team did some serious optimization work when they switched to the VC1 encodes (see this page as referenced by moviegeek above; search for "netflix"). It seems unlikely that LG would have gone to quite as much trouble in their code.
post #297 of 5424
My PS3 and my laptop are connected via ethernet cables to my router. The NetFlix Speed Test on my laptop averages 17Mbps / 31ms, but the same test on my PS3 averages only 6Mbps / 4ms. Any clue as to why my PS3 is slower? Does it matter? Will NetFlix ever supply a "quality" HD stream?

I can deal with stereo audio, but they've turned "picture quality" into an oxymoron.
post #298 of 5424
post #299 of 5424
oh well... time to downgrade my uverse.
post #300 of 5424
Netflix's HD streams are of excellent quality on my XBox 360. The Legend of the Seeker series, in particular has an incredible picture quality, which is perhaps even better than OTA.
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