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Netflix HD PC vs. STB/Blu-ray player streaming quality?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Are the HD streaming feeds via PC the same quality as those from a dedicated streamer, like a Roku, PS3, Blu-ray player etc? Other than the convenience factor, is watching an HD movie via HTPC of different quality that the dedicated streamer?

On a related topic, is watching Netflix via Playon limited to SD or do you still see the show/movie in HD? (if it is an HD feed)
Thanks
post #2 of 15
PlayOn is SD only, at least the last time I checked. I'm pretty much only using it for Hulu.

Different devices get different streams, and as noted elsewhere, at this time only the PS3 and Roku 2 are getting the 1080p streams from Netflix.

Also, the PC doesn't have access to the entire HD catalog:
  • Go here and click the "show rated/seen titles" checkbox on the right: http://movies.netflix.com/WiHD?ftr=false
  • Note that there are 101 pages of HD titles
  • click the "Show HD for PC/Max" button near the top.
  • Note that there are only 86 pages of HD titles available to the PC

So in short, a dedicated streamer is the way to go, IMO.
post #3 of 15
I have found the PC to have more judder (looks like dropping frames). I'm not sure if thats the PC Netflix player or what. My PC is plently powerful.

*using my Panny plasma to compare, via TV App. I have also tried Boxee's PC App. There is not much difference is quality between the 3, at all.
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklac View Post

I have found the PC to have more judder (looks like dropping frames). I'm not sure if thats the PC Netflix player or what. My PC is plently powerful.

*using my Panny plasma to compare, via TV App. I have also tried Boxee's PC App. There is not much difference is quality between the 3, at all.

Yup, PC playback of Netflix feeds continues to suck balls.

Ever since way back when they switched to Silverlight it has been poor on the PC.

Hardware players play Netflix streams better than a PC, SD or HD doesn't matter.

-Suntan
post #5 of 15
I wonder if they deliberately reduce quality to PC's due to the greater possibility of someone 'stealing' the feed and recording it. With most stand-alone devices, it's either limited to SD, or goes through HDMI with HDCP for HD.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by andyross63 View Post

I wonder if they deliberately reduce quality to PC's due to the greater possibility of someone 'stealing' the feed and recording it. With most stand-alone devices, it's either limited to SD, or goes through HDMI with HDCP for HD.

Nah--the bit rate at which HD video is encoded for the PC is the same as for embedded devices.

The other weakness of PC vs Embedded Netflix players is that the PC player cannot play the 5.1 sound available on some titles (it can play subtitles/closed captions on titles which have them).
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
so are HD streams to the PC, 720p, 1080i or 1080p?
post #8 of 15
So tonight Netflix forced me to do a software update on the ps3, (not a ps3 software update, a Netflix one) just to use the service and now anything I try to watch in HD including the exact same program I watched last night is stuttering. Getting really annoying.

And my "recently watched" queue is gone.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTK View Post
so are HD streams to the PC, 720p, 1080i or 1080p?
720p. No 1080i encodes on Netflix and only the PS3 and Roku 2 are getting 1080p at present, though it's coming to more devices.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

720p. No 1080i encodes on Netflix and only the PS3 and Roku 2 are getting 1080p at present, though it's coming to more devices.

Any updates on newer players that support more than 720 p? I just got a TiVo premier series 4 and am wondering if it supports higher resolution?
post #11 of 15
Amazon does the same thing on Prime membership free videos. More HD and 5.1 movies are available to streamers than the PC. I never understood the reasoning behind this. Didn't know Netflix did the same.

To me, a PC is the ultimate source for watching Internet videos. You're not restricted to the apps built into media players. You can go directly to fox.com and get an HD feed while you have to pay for Hulu Plus to get the same HD quality. Regular free Hulu cuts down on the resolution.

I just don't get it. Why do they do this? Specially with more laptop computers coming with HDMI, connecting a computer to a big screen TV has never been easier.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitsuevo View Post

Any updates on newer players that support more than 720 p? I just got a TiVo premier series 4 and am wondering if it supports higher resolution?

There are a few others now--you can see a list in the "When is 1080P Netflix coming to my device?" article on the Tech of the Hub blog.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardV View Post

Amazon does the same thing on Prime membership free videos. More HD and 5.1 movies are available to streamers than the PC. I never understood the reasoning behind this. Didn't know Netflix did the same.

To me, a PC is the ultimate source for watching Internet videos. You're not restricted to the apps built into media players. You can go directly to fox.com and get an HD feed while you have to pay for Hulu Plus to get the same HD quality. Regular free Hulu cuts down on the resolution.

I just don't get it. Why do they do this? Specially with more laptop computers coming with HDMI, connecting a computer to a big screen TV has never been easier.

It's IP holder paranoia. They're afraid that someone will capture HD streams in a file for distribution around the network. I think that they're slowly coming to realize that the threat of captured streaming media is least of their problems; anyone who's interested can download rips of BDs whenever they want.

As far as HD is concerned (720p at least), Netflix is close to achieving an equal number of titles for PCs--3045 versus 3474 as I write this. No 1080p through the PC player and no 5.1 sound. I think that they'd need to write a separate app to get 5.1 sound--there's no way to do it that I know of out of a web app.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I think that they'd need to write a separate app to get 5.1 sound--there's no way to do it that I know of out of a web app.

How about through Windows Media Center? I do most of my Netflix watching through WMC rather than a browser.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowardV View Post

How about through Windows Media Center? I do most of my Netflix watching through WMC rather than a browser.

It's definitely possible, since I'm sure that WMC does 5.1 sound from DVD and television tuners, but I just tried it and it doesn't seem to. It does do 720p from those titles which are in HD.
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