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Amazon Instant Video vs. Netflix Quality

post #1 of 99
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if anyone else had experience with both services? I just finished my Amazon Prime trial and starting Netflix free trial and the PQ on Netflix is awful. My connection speed with Amazon was usually 1.2 Mbps and with Netflix my player is showing 1.3Mbps. My player is a Sony S580, but I don't know why it should matter. Does updating to the latest firmware make a difference? I was thinking Amazon might be using a better compression. Any ideas?
post #2 of 99
I use both streamed through a Roku2 device.

I haven't watched as many things from Amazon as I have from Netflix so I do understand there is some variables to account for. I'd say overall NF has the better quality but many items are in HD on Amazon Prime VoD and look just as good as any HD stuff from NF. Also, some of their content is in 5.1 audio. I'd say that they are more similar than different wrt quality with the edge going to Netflix out of sheer maturity.

Overall quality also depends on usage on both ends. Maybe what you were watching was in high demand or that the Netflix usage in general was high at the time you were watching.
post #3 of 99
Thread Starter 
I watched a few episodes of My Name is Earl and started Operation Condor last night and it got stuck twice, once at 9:00 and probably about 10 minutes later. NF doesn't seem to catch up either, I had to stop it and resume playing.
post #4 of 99
I use both services with a ps3 and as far as I can tell there is little to no difference in the video quality between the two. Both look very similar to my HD channels I get from dish network. Neither compares to a blu-ray though. My internet connection isn't the greatest (5 Mbps at&t dsl) so perhaps with a better/faster service there may be more of a picture quality difference between them.

If I were forced to choose to only keep one service, I think I would keep netflix...larger library and with the ps3 i can get a lot of titles with superior dolby 5.1 sound.cool.gif
post #5 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by 67jason View Post

I use both services with a ps3 and as far as I can tell there is little to no difference in the video quality between the two. Both look very similar to my HD channels I get from dish network. Neither compares to a blu-ray though. My internet connection isn't the greatest (5 Mbps at&t dsl) so perhaps with a better/faster service there may be more of a picture quality difference between them.
If I were forced to choose to only keep one service, I think I would keep netflix...larger library and with the ps3 i can get a lot of titles with superior dolby 5.1 sound.cool.gif

Same setup and experience here. I do like Amazon's new release selection and it comes in 28 cents cheaper than Vudu. I'm a rabid Prime user and have no intention of unsubscribing to that, free 2 day shipping on baby food has us all in. I do wish they would get a queue on the PS3 like the 360 got at E3.
post #6 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by 67jason View Post

I use both services with a ps3 and as far as I can tell there is little to no difference in the video quality between the two. Both look very similar to my HD channels I get from dish network. Neither compares to a blu-ray though. My internet connection isn't the greatest (5 Mbps at&t dsl) so perhaps with a better/faster service there may be more of a picture quality difference between them.

If I were forced to choose to only keep one service, I think I would keep netflix...larger library and with the ps3 i can get a lot of titles with superior dolby 5.1 sound.cool.gif

I haven't tried Amazon on my PS3 yet, but NF is fine. NF on my TivoHD doesn't have support for 1080p but other than than it's ok. I did try Amazon on my PC and it used Flash and sucked big time. I would assume the app on the PS3 is better. I think the OP is bit starved. 1.2 Mbps isn't very good for streaming movies. My raw download speed via Comcast is 25 Mbps and I have no problem handling Vudu HDX which, I believe, needs 9 Mbps.

larry
post #7 of 99
I'm using Amazon via a TiVoHD as a replacement for renting Blu-ray Discs. With their HD videos (ordered directly from the TiVo) downloaded and stored on the DVR, there seems to be much less compression than with streamed versions, and the image quality is very, very good.

I usually watch Netflix on a Roku. I could also choose the TiVo or my PS3, but I don't see much difference. Except for the TiVo HD, Netflix seems to always look better than Amazon for me (I only have the Roku for Amazon Prime).
post #8 of 99
Thread Starter 
My fastest available dsl speed is 1.5 Mbps according to AT&T. I don't like Mediacom and that's the only other provider I know of. But I would have to buy a new modem and router because my Netgear is modem and wi-fi.
post #9 of 99
They are both pretty good in my book, I usually go through Netflix and if they don't have anything I want to watch I will look on Amazon Prime. Quality wise I think they both look fine.
post #10 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdclark View Post

I'm using Amazon via a TiVoHD as a replacement for renting Blu-ray Discs. With their HD videos (ordered directly from the TiVo) downloaded and stored on the DVR, there seems to be much less compression than with streamed versions, and the image quality is very, very good.

I usually watch Netflix on a Roku. I could also choose the TiVo or my PS3, but I don't see much difference. Except for the TiVo HD, Netflix seems to always look better than Amazon for me (I only have the Roku for Amazon Prime).
I forgot about that with the TivoHD. Yes, that works quite well. I haven't used it in a while.

larry
post #11 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by anikun07 View Post

I was wondering if anyone else had experience with both services? I just finished my Amazon Prime trial and starting Netflix free trial and the PQ on Netflix is awful. My connection speed with Amazon was usually 1.2 Mbps and with Netflix my player is showing 1.3Mbps. My player is a Sony S580, but I don't know why it should matter. Does updating to the latest firmware make a difference? I was thinking Amazon might be using a better compression. Any ideas?

Make sure your netflix account is set to stream HD. You can do this on the web. Log into your account. Select Your account and help, then manage video quality and make sure the Best quality tab is clicked. I stream in 1080p via my XBOX and the quality is great on a good source. Some movies stream better than others, I think due to how grainy the source is.
post #12 of 99
I'm surprised anything is watchable with that connection speed....that's like 1/4 or 1/5 of their recommended speed.

Don't really use Amazon....maybe they handle slow connections differently (buffer a higher quality encode) vs Netflix's adaptive tech? I don't know...just throwing out a possibility.
post #13 of 99
I've been watching S5 of Dr. Who on Prime HD and have been pleasantly surprised by how good it looks. Before that Netflix definately looked better.than amazon.
post #14 of 99
We had both and prefered Amazon Prime. The PQ is about the same but with the other fringe benefits to Prime, we felt it was a better deal.
Also the Amazon site is much, much faster and easier to use. The Netflix site can be painfully slow. However, we still maintain our Netflix DVD program. (But will probably cancel it one of these days.)
post #15 of 99
It depends on the device if you have a device that can tap into the Netflix's 1080p streams and you have a fast pipe to the internet that can sustain it then it is definitely higher quality than what you're currently getting from Amazon. Amazon's streaming HD is only 720p and it looks it. Only a few devices can access the Netflix X-HD 1080p streams and I just happen to have two of them right now. On my Roku XS and Panasonic BDT-220 which can access the Netflix X-HD 1080p streams since I have a 25Mbps / 25 Mbps connection courtesy of FIOS it looks amazing and can rival a blu-ray disc in many instances. I do detect some softness with movement which is noticeable with closeups and I believe this is due to the Netflix stream, but it does look very nice and sharp for the most part. Amazon HD looks noticeably softer and with a lack of detail and sharpness, there's is no way one would think an Amazon HD stream looks like a Blu-Ray disc. The best streams these days come from Vudu HDX, if you have a chance to view those take a look you won't be disappointed. Vudu HDX is amazing and looks as close as one can get to the Blu-Ray disc of the same title. Their codec is really amazing in that it works so well via the internet.
post #16 of 99
BTW there is a dedicated section on streaming / download services, and you will find more there than you have gotten so far in this thread...wink.gif
post #17 of 99
I haven't used netflix, so I can't really make the comparison you're requesting. I can say though that we've been streaming stuff from Amazon (via a regular old browser on a regular old HTPC - call us old fashioned I guess) for about six months. In that time, the picture quality has improved very noticeably. So if you haven't tried Amazon streaming in a while, it's worth another look.

We'd use it a lot more if they'd ever get around to releasing a WMC plugin. And of course you can still see compression artifacts in the video occasionally. The sound quality is far behind the video quality, as it's still in stereo and sounds very compressed.
post #18 of 99
I hadn't been keeping up with the times with NF and only recently realized some movies were in 5.1. As far as image quality, I can' tell a difference between NF and Amazon on a Roku player.
post #19 of 99
I have Verizon FIOS. I have streamed Amazon onto the computer monitor and it looks awful, so much so that I complained to Amazon, even though I could stream for free (Amazon Prime with its restrictions on what you can stream), with the result that they sent me a $10 credit for streaming that I have never bothered to use. In comparison to Netflix, Amazon is second rate, if not third rate. However, I cannot stream Amazon onto my high definition display and thus cannot use my home theater system's audio capabilities. Note, both of these streaming services have to pass through Verizon FIOS's internet connection. Netflix is set up beautifully, especially with the queuing system and its ability to track your progress through whatever you stream (stop it and then it resumes where you stopped). The quality of either of these streaming services is not to be confused with BR, although there seems to be a lot of HD streaming on Netflix such as Sherlock and Mad Men that looks pretty good. Not all of Netflix streaming is great though such as The Man with the Golden Arm which was unwatchable and other older films such as The Pajama Game.
post #20 of 99
I haven't view both of them,but i have used Microsoft zune rentals on xbox 360. The picture quality looks "good". Not as clear as blu ray maybe dvd quality.
they say it supports 1080p and 720p video. I only been with microsoft zune rentals for about a week or so,so give it a try if you own a xbox ^. just my two cents
post #21 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by fookoo_2010 View Post

I have Verizon FIOS. I have streamed Amazon onto the computer monitor and it looks awful, so much so that I complained to Amazon, even though I could stream for free

Are you sure that it was content that Amazon described as "HD"?

No movies are available in "HD" on Amazon via browser style flash-streaming or unbox. Rather they'll send movies in HD only to the various set-top boxes/game consoles that they support.

Some TV shows are available in "HD" via browser style flash-streaming and unbox, and they look pretty good (to me). The browser style flash-streaming HD is 2500k bitrate. The unbox HD downloads are 4000k-5000k bitrate (about twice the file size). For example, the file size of a Season 5 episode of The Big Bang Theory in HD is 957mb via unbox, but only 420mb via flash streaming. Of course, each uses different codecs but unbox is still higher bitrate.

None of this matters to the topic starter or most anybody else who uses exclusively a set-top box.
post #22 of 99
I "had" NF for a long time and just started Amazon Prime. HD picture quality is about the same although Amazon is much more stable, loads faster, is faster to fast forward or rewind and NF absolutely sucks for movies which is what I wanted it for. I could care less about the gazillion crappy TV shows they have.

So NF got the boot.

As an aside I tried Vudu and it rocks. Loads almost instantly and PQ is fantastic (for streaming on my limited speed DSL). I would love to see what the Vudu HDX looks like if I ever get a big enough pipe to use it.
post #23 of 99
I watch both Netflix and Amazon Instant Video on Google TV (Logitech Revue), on my Windows 7 laptop and I watch NF on my Android phone - on TV, I get great 1080p quality from NF with a fast connection, and there's a great selection of movies and TV shows - but the proprietary interface bugs me.

To my 54 year old eyes, the Amazon Prime 720p stream is only slightly softer than NF - but I really like the fact that it is inside the browser - and when I watch it either on my laptop or on the Revue, it doesn't take over the whole machine. On the laptop, I can even shrink it down and watch a movie while I do something else.

I'm keeping both. Even together, they're less than a Comcast movie package.

Cheers,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
post #24 of 99
I'm an Amazon Prime member and honeslty have only used only prime instant through the app built into my Panasonic TV a few times. Loaded fast, HD image looked very good, although I did notice macroblocking in solid color backgrounds. I've had Netflix for a couple of years, and keep it to watch the occasional movie. I've tried it on my PS3, Panasonic BDT310, and my third gen Apple TV, and I think the Apple TV looks the best out of the three. It has the best interface, loads fastest, and has a more stable image with less artifacting.

FWIW, your DSL is a major bottleneck for HD streaming. I used to have AT&T DSL and I could barely stream anything, let alone in HD. It always looked like garbage. I have Charter internet now and have no problem streaming in HD...my connection speed generally varies between 18-30Mbps.
post #25 of 99
I recently had the free amazon prime trial and have been a netflix subscriber for the last 6 months, I think netflix has the better picture quality than amazon. I did not become an amazon prime subscriber.
I watched both services on my Optoma HD3300 projector on 120 inch screen through a PS3 slim. At this size, picture quality becomes easier to see than on a smaller television. The difference was not night and day, but netflix did look better.
post #26 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by fookoo_2010 View Post

I have Verizon FIOS. I have streamed Amazon onto the computer monitor and it looks awful, so much so that I complained to Amazon, even though I could stream for free (Amazon Prime with its restrictions on what you can stream), with the result that they sent me a $10 credit for streaming that I have never bothered to use.
That' because streaming to a PC uses Flash, and Flash scaling sucks big time. I only tried it once with my laptop connection to my 60" plasma via HDMI. It was awful and I complained, too. One day I'll try it on my PS3 when I get around to calling support to get my password changed because the original email is no longer valid. The other apps (NF and Vudu) don't care about being logged into the PSN.

larry
post #27 of 99
Fact Netflix offers 1080p HD streams
Fact Amazon offers 720p HD streams and no 1080p currently
Fact only some Netflix capable devices can tap into the 1080p streams
Fact if you don't have a Netflix 1080p capable device then you can't judge the quality of the Netflix HD offerings because you're getting 720P.
Fact your bandwidth needs to be sufficiently high to get the Netflix X-HD 1080p streams

I'm not a defending either company but fact is that the Netflix 1080p streams look much better than Amazon's 720 HD streams. For those that are saying that there's no difference see the facts above.

The best streams to date in 1080p are from Vudu and is called Vudu HDX.
post #28 of 99
Thread Starter 
Yes, 1080p will always look better than 720p, but like many people I don't have the bandwidth available for either at max. So besides being able to stream at max resolution, Amazon has looked better than Netflix - but that's at 1.2-1.3 Mbps. It's like watching non HD channels/programs upscaled but Netflix looks more like and old VHS tape recorded off TV 15 years ago.
post #29 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by PooperScooper View Post

That' because streaming to a PC uses Flash, and Flash scaling sucks big time. I only tried it once with my laptop connection to my 60" plasma via HDMI. It was awful and I complained, too. One day I'll try it on my PS3 when I get around to calling support to get my password changed because the original email is no longer valid. The other apps (NF and Vudu) don't care about being logged into the PSN.
larry

Thanks for the explanation. I will have to wait for oppo to provide Amazon as a streaming option. I will say that once I ran the output from my laptop into my AVR via HDMI and what I saw was awful.
post #30 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by anikun07 View Post

Yes, 1080p will always look better than 720p, but like many people I don't have the bandwidth available for either at max. So besides being able to stream at max resolution, Amazon has looked better than Netflix - but that's at 1.2-1.3 Mbps. It's like watching non HD channels/programs upscaled but Netflix looks more like and old VHS tape recorded off TV 15 years ago.

So you have a limited bandwidth and want to know which service looks the best? Why what a colossal waste of my time.
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