Originally Posted by gsr
I suspect the bit rate is a LOT more important than changing from 720p to 1080p. That also still leaves the crummy 2 channel, low bit rate audio. I'd prefer to see Netflix increase the bit rate at 720p and improve the audio rather than switch to 1080p. The problem is that most people probably don't have a good enough connection to stream higher quality content reliably and increasing the bit rate becomes a problem for people with monthly bandwidth limits even if their connection is fast enough. It's going to be a tough problem to solve in the relatively near future as more and more providers start streaming content to more consumers.
Netflix does offer 5.1 audio when the source provides it. I made a setting adjustment on my Roku recently.
But, this isn't a Netflix thread. I only mentioned it because the Engadget shootout clearly showed that a disc player with horsepower enough to play BD discs transforms the Netflix experience vs. the Roku box, all other factors being equal.
The Samsung and the LG represent a whole new front in the streaming war -- it's one thing for Netflix to put out dedicated boxes and sneak onto game consoles, but it's an entirely different proposition for mainstream Blu-ray players to support the service. This is where Netflix really thinks it's going to make a play for the hearts and minds of the consumer, and while the experience on the Sammy isn't perfect, we can see why there's so much enthusiasm -- streaming video on BD-P2500 looks amazing. It runs a very slightly tweaked version of the Roku's interface, but the HQV video hardware in the box is so obviously superior even things like the cover images in the menus look better. Of course, the real reason the 2500 needs all that horsepower is for Blu-ray playback, and that's where the tradeoff comes in -- we've always found Blu-ray players to be slow, and the Samsung is no exception. While it's definitely faster than other BD units we've used, it's still rather, uh, thoughtful, and it takes the longest to buffer up a stream. (Don't even ask us how long it took to pull down a firmware update when we first turned it on.) If you're only interested in Netflix, you'll have to decide whether the dramatic bump in image quality over the Roku is worth the $250 premium and longer load times -- we'd say the BD-P2500's $350 pricetag is only worth it if you're serious about Blu-ray as well.
If Netflix looks better on a circa 2008 Sammy, I can't wait to see it on the 93!