Originally Posted by Philnick
Amazon streams to computers only in standard definition, so something like a Roku is the only way to get high def.
It should be noted that you can download titles in files from Amazon to your PC, which will be in high definition with 5.1 sound (if either is available).
Amazon streams most movies in 5.1 but only a few TV shows.
648 out of 9542 (6.8%) of all Amazon Instant Video movies have 5.1 sound (428 out of 2472 Prime Instant Video movie titles, 17.3%) so "most" isn't accurate. 739 of 4146 Instant Video television series titles (17.8%) have 5.1 sound (117 of 915 Prime television titles, 12.8%).
You can view a list of the 545 (as I write this) Amazon Prime Instant Video titles with 5.1 sound here
, at TVandMoviesNow.com (movies + TV series, which each season counting as a title). This site is my source for all of those numbers above
...make sure that your AVR not only has HDMI but supports Dolby Digital Plus. Netflix may be the first time that audio codec has gotten heavy use, so not all AVRs support it.
Having an AVR with DD+ decoding is the only way that you'll get 5.1 sound out of the Roku 2's Netflix player, since it cannot decode or convert DD+ into anything else.
My two cents on optimizing is that no one device will do it all - the box that's best for one purpose may not be best for another. Fortunately, these little boxes are relatively inexpensive, so you can have a few.
I may have found one streamer to suit all of my needs in the 2012 Sony BD players. They feature Netflix with 1080p/DD+ 5.1/CC+subtitle support, VUDU and Amazon w/5.1 sound. Those are the three streaming video services which I use the most (more or less the only ones I use) so having one device with full-featured versions of all will be very cool (it also has players for the popular Hulu Plus and many other things). I ordered the BDP-S590 from Sony's "Rewards" site on Friday but they haven't shipped it yet. There's a BDP-S390 as well (not 3D, smaller enclosure with no external display and 1 versus 2 USB connection but otherwise identical to the S590).