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Odd Netflix issue - X-High/HD no longer available - Page 5

post #121 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddice View Post

Thanks now I understand. Just update the PS3 app to 2.11 to show the right video quality.

And how would I do that?
post #122 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

I notice the wording: "the new encodes deliver better quality at lower bit rates"
Which is not the same thing as saying: "equal quality at a lower bit rate".

To me that says "better than our old encodes at higher bit rates". The decrease in bit rates seems to be about 20% and eyeIO has claimed that they can do better than normal encoders with 20% fewer bits and equal their quality with half the bits (as quoted in tech blog articles like this one). Netflix obviously agrees though some who've posted to this thread would disagree.
That's not what it says though. It says that they are claiming better quality at the lower rate, not better quality THAN that higher rate. At least that what it says to me, and that makes more sense.
I think logic has to intervene here. Those bits being discarded are image information. You can't take away image data and end up with "better quality". My eyes tell me the same thing, the lower bit rate is producing a softer image. There's most definitely no improvement in PQ.
post #123 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

That's not what it says though. It says that they are claiming better quality at the lower rate, not better quality THAN that higher rate. At least that what it says to me, and that makes more sense.
I think logic has to intervene here. Those bits being discarded are image information. You can't take away image data and end up with "better quality". My eyes tell me the same thing, the lower bit rate is producing a softer image. There's most definitely no improvement in PQ.

All HD Video we see is compressed - the question is the efficiency of the encoding algorithm. It is possible to lower the bitrate and improve quality.

I read the quote as saying 'the new encodes deliver better quality (than the old encodes) at lower bit rate' - but your eyes are certainly the best judge,

I am personally very happy that they seem to be reserving “X-High” for higher quality encodes............. Hopefully soon.
post #124 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

And how would I do that?

Yeah, how do you force update Netflix on the PS3? Aren't updates automatically pushed?
post #125 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by skro View Post

Yeah, how do you force update Netflix on the PS3? Aren't updates automatically pushed?

I tried deleting the player and reinstalling it and when I ran it it automatically forced an update on me to version 2.10 (requiring me to re-enter my Netflix log-in info rolleyes.gif). I don't think that version 2.11 is available.
post #126 of 429
I am also interested in this part of the Netflix response (new encodes should provide “additional detail in the textures, shadows, skies, and particularly faces”).

Shadow detail was one area I thought the old encodes weren't so great - will have to try some darker movies/shows to see what they look like.
post #127 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

I think logic has to intervene here. Those bits being discarded are image information. You can't take away image data and end up with "better quality".

You seem to assume that they start with the old encoding and trim bits of it away. That's not what's happening--they encode the source for streaming with their technology, which yields a result at a reduced bit rate which they claim is superior to the output of other encoder at higher bit rates. eyeIO makes that claim in no uncertain terms; what Netflix says is just agreeing with that. It's like someone who can pack twice as much into a suitcase than you can or an efficiency expert determining how a business can get more accomplished with a reduced staff. For years companies were constantly improving the efficiency of MPEG-2 encoders, some of that improvement enabled by advancing processor technology, allowing encoders to do more work refining their output without taking an unacceptable amount of time to produce it.

I found a somewhat deeper look at eyeIO's relationship with Netflix here (much better than their ubiquitous PR). Apparently the principals came to Netflix with a prototype of their encoder before they'd actually established a company. That was a little over 2 years ago. Netflix has been working with the final product since June of last year, probably rolling it out with their Latin America expansion first.

I've lately been impressed with Amazon's video, which is encoded at a significantly lower bit rate than Netflix's best 720 (even now) and, to my eye, exceeding it in sharpness. I recently watched the first four seasons of Fringe over again as Amazon Prime Instant Video and thoroughly enjoy its PQ and AQ coming in at a supposed average of 2.5 Mbps.
post #128 of 429
Thread Starter 
Now, it would be nice if Netflix could use that technology to make a super-high-res X-High/HD again, even if it meant a 4th option on the quality limit options in the Netflix account settings. But, I have a feeling the media companies may not like that. To be honest, they would prefer everybody would be limited to Low/SD!
post #129 of 429
Thread Starter 
As the thread starter, I edited the original post to add information about the new compression and change in designations, for those who find this thread the first time.
post #130 of 429
Actually, there still are two 720p feeds, one at 3000 kbps (reencoded to replace the 3600 kbps one) and another at 2350 kbps (while it's not reencoded to ~ 1800-2000 kbps).

The first one is indeed Medium/HD, but what about the other?

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyross63 View Post

Medium/HD is now the only 720p feed.
post #131 of 429
Below are two screenshots from Windows 8 Netflix player from a user (br_luis_carlos) in a Brazilian A/V forum (www.htforum.com), before and after the change in Netlfix. It is clear that the maximum bitrate was reduced from 4800 kbps to 3850 kbps.

It seems that in the past X-High/HD used to be 4800 kbps and High/HD used to be 3600 kbps.

Now these values seem to be reduced to 3850 kbps and 3000 kbps respectively.

I am wondering wich of these new bitrates PS3 is using when it is showing High/HD (3000 kbps or 3850 kbps?)

Before Netflix bitrate cap:



After Netflix bitrate cap:

post #132 of 429
Based on the Windows 8 information from the above post, I created a table summarizing the old and new bitrates.

I am still wondering which bitrate PS3 is using now when it shows 'High/HD"...

Windows 8 app is obviously capable of using the 3850 kbps stream.

Does it mean that we will need to get a new updated Netflix version for the PS3 that should be able to play the 3850 kbps stream? Or perhaps it is just a mislabel issue now and PS3 is already using the 3850 kbps stream when it shows now "High/HD"?


Edited by drdsouza - 12/8/12 at 12:21pm
post #133 of 429
Sorry I should have said that 2.11 is not out yet. What I mean is I want Netflix to release 2.11 to hopefully correct the display quality.
post #134 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by drdsouza View Post

Based on the Windows 8 information from the above post, I created a table summarizing the old and new bitrates.
I am still wondering which bitrate PS3 is using now when it shows 'High/HD"...
Windows 8 app is obviously capable of using the 3850 kbps stream.
Does it mean that we will need to get a new updated Netflix version for the PS3 that should be able to play the 3850 kbps stream? Or perhaps it is just a mislabel issue now and PS3 is already using the 3850 kbps stream when it shows now "High/HD"?

As per my measurements on the PS3, Roku 2 and a Panasonic BD player, they are all using the 3850 and 3000 Kbps encodes if they're there. I don't think that it makes any difference to the player what the bit rate is--it's all AVC. There may be some maximum bit rate that they can handle but all of the devices I mentioned can deal with 9 Mbps streams from VUDU

1750 Kbps is not "Low/HD"--it's 720x480 with 32:27 AR pixels; the PS3 calls it "High/SD". 1050 Kbps is Medium/HD and the four lower bit rates are all called "Low/SD". Play "Example 8 Hour 23.976" on the PS3 and watch the correspondence between the info in the overlay and the quality level labels in the player's info display. At this point I think that the player is displaying quality level based purely on the old bit rates; given that, it will display Medium/HD for both 2350 and 3000 Kbps and High/HD for 3850 Kbps.

If they're going to call 3850 Kbps "High/HD" then 3000 Kbps becomes "Medium/HD" and 2350 Kbps should become "Low/HD" (a new label). Hopefully they'll add a new "X-High/HD" for those of us who don't have severe bandwidth caps.

Thank you very much drdsouza for posting those screenshots of the Windows 8 Netflix app "Stream Manager" display! I'd estimated that the new 1080p encode bit rate was between 3810 and 3890 and it's very nice to know that I was right smile.gif.

I'd been holding back on upgrading to Win 8 Pro to give it a chance to be field tested by 10s of millions of users, but I really want this new Netflix app. Sadly it looks as though the Win 8 Netflix app is still using the special 64 Kbps stereo sound; they should have it use the 192 Kbps stereo and 384 Kbps DD+ 5.1 streams (converting the DD+ to DD if your PC's sound output can't handle it).
post #135 of 429
Here in Brazil we don't have access to "Example 8 Hour 23.976". Instead we can play "Example Short 23.976".

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Play "Example 8 Hour 23.976" on the PS3 and watch the correspondence between the info in the overlay and the quality level labels in the player's info display. At this point I think that the player is displaying quality level based purely on the old bit rates; given that, it will display Medium/HD for both 2350 and 3000 Kbps and High/HD for 3850 Kbps./quote]
post #136 of 429
A couple of thoughts.

Thinking about the new encodes, I wonder if this was one of Netflix's A/B tests? Netflix likes to try out new things by rolling out to small groups of users first, measuring the effect and then deciding whether to push the feature to everyone. Perhaps initial A/B testing said users didn't notice the difference w/ the new encoding rates. Hence, everyone got them. Now that folks have noticed the change (and a difference in quality), I hope it will compel Netflix to push out higher quality encodes sooner instead of later.


It was interesting to see from drdsouza's chart (thanks for that!) how much the top bit rate is compressed more than the others. My takeaway is that more bits give more opportunity to compress.
post #137 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaioTheBrain View Post

Here in Brazil we don't have access to "Example 8 Hour 23.976". Instead we can play "Example Short 23.976".

I used to recommend "Example Short 23.976" but it got to be strangely flakey--the overlay would disappear and reappear and it would constantly move up and down through the encodes. I think that once information about it got out in the wild it became extremely popular and high demand on a single title on the server was affecting performance. That's just a guess smile.gif.
post #138 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaioTheBrain View Post

Here in Brazil we don't have access to "Example 8 Hour 23.976". Instead we can play "Example Short 23.976".

Indeed. And all example files here in Brazil played in PS3 with a max quality of "High/HD".
post #139 of 429
Looks like Engadget picked up on our thread and contacted netflix..

http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/08/netflix-1080p-streams-no-longer-called-x-high-company-credits-i/
"Chronicled in a thread on AVS Forum and reported to us by several tipsters, more than a few users have noticed their streams on 1080p-capable hardware (PlayStation 3, WDTV Live) no longer rock the "X-High" notification (on PS3, hit select to view more information bout your streaming details) that had previously let them know they were getting the highest quality possible. We checked with Netflix, and according to the company, it's rolling out better encoding that improves picture quality despite using a lower bitrate. That means 1080p works even for people with slower connections, and increases detail on "textures, shadows, skies, and particularly faces." As a result, what was previously called "X-High HD" is now being labeled a tier lower."
post #140 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by drdsouza View Post

Indeed. And all example files here in Brazil played in PS3 with a max quality of "High/HD".

As they do here in the US. They haven't bothered to re-encode them as yet. I've also run across some titles which still have 3600 Kbps 720p video encodes, but their 1080p encodes have been replaced. As I said before, it seems to be a work in progress.
post #141 of 429
So the 1080p encodes only show High/HD that means that the 720p encodes only show Medium/HD that is not good for people not knowing and thinking that they dropped the quality of the encodes. They should just ditch the entire High/Medium/Low and just show 1080p/720p/540p/480p/320p/240p under the descriptions.
post #142 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddice View Post

They should just ditch the entire High/Medium/Low and just show 1080p/720p/540p/480p/320p/240p under the descriptions.

There are currently two 720p encodes, at 2350 and 3000 Kbps.
post #143 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

There are currently two 720p encodes, at 2350 and 3000 Kbps.

I know but when they reencode all of their videos and update the apps for the devices then it should show the numbers instead of the words.
post #144 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by skro View Post

We checked with Netflix, and according to the company, it's rolling out better encoding that improves picture quality despite using a lower bitrate. That means 1080p works even for people with slower connections, and increases detail on "textures, shadows, skies, and particularly faces." As a result, what was previously called "X-High HD" is now being labeled a tier lower."

What really bugs me about this is the fact the company makes some changes to its service, but doesnt tell customer service reps.

And when customers call to complain, the customer service reps just deny deny deny and blame the customer's internet connection and the ISP and the phases of the moon.... Basically anything but Netflix....
post #145 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by andyross63 View Post

Update December 8, 2012: Based on information in later posts, Netflix has changed a few things. High/HD is now the 1080p feed using a new compression technique that allows a lower bitrate. Medium/HD is now the only 720p feed. X-High/HD is no longer used except for some older titles that have not been updated.
Original post below:
For the past few days, I've noticed something odd with Netflix. I'm using a WDTV Live Streaming, hardwired, on Comcast Performance cable (speed tests show 25/4).
Basically, some titles, "Star Trek: Enterprise", "Star Trek" [old series], and "Hell on Wheels" no longer go to X-High/HD. They max out at High/HD. I do get the proper 5.1 audio on ST and HoW. ST:E has always been 2.0.
I tried Will Ferrell's spoof "Casa de mi Padre", and it runs X-High/HD, as does an episode of "Louie".
The WDTV is the only device I have that supports X-High/HD and 5.1 audio, so I can't check against something else. I also ran the Vudu network test (I don't have a Vudu account), and it ran with the bar maxed out the full time.
I was just wondering if it's something odd about me, some of these titles, Netflix? Anyone else notice something?

Sounds like Netflix is just using more compression to send the "new" HD format. Remember, this is the company that was sued for throttling and lost.
post #146 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydster View Post

Sounds like Netflix is just using more compression to send the "new" HD format.

It's not a new format and it's not like they just cranked up their old encoder to further water down the soup. I'm sure that they paid a lot of money for this new encoding tech and that they believe in it.
Quote:
Remember, this is the company that was sued for throttling and lost.

It's not as though the class who sued them "won". Netflix didn't change their policies, which is what the complainants hoped to force. All they were made to do is pay the complainants' legal fees, add a detailed description of the throttling policy to their Terms of Use and give the class members a single free month of service or an upgrade to the next level for a month for free (with their subscription continuing at that level until they switched back, so they probably profited from that by people forgetting to switch back to a cheaper plan). They estimate that it cost them $4M with more than half paid to the lawyers (typical for class action suits). A piffling annoyance.

They also amended their Terms of Use with arbitration agreements to prevent them from being sued in that fashion again smile.gif.
post #147 of 429
Say what you want about the new encoding scheme, but it looks noticeably worse. Less compression artifacts than you would previously have seen at the lower bit rate, but it still has less detail and "softer" image than the old X-high bit rate. It's not difficult to understand why Netflix wants this new compression, but improved image quality is not one of the reasons.
post #148 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

It's not a new format and it's not like they just cranked up their old encoder to further water down the soup. I'm sure that they paid a lot of money for this new encoding tech and that they believe in it.
It's not as though the class who sued them "won". Netflix didn't change their policies, which is what the complainants hoped to force. All they were made to do is pay the complainants' legal fees, add a detailed description of the throttling policy to their Terms of Use and give the class members a single free month of service or an upgrade to the next level for a month for free (with their subscription continuing at that level until they switched back, so they probably profited from that by people forgetting to switch back to a cheaper plan). They estimate that it cost them $4M with more than half paid to the lawyers (typical for class action suits). A piffling annoyance.
They also amended their Terms of Use with arbitration agreements to prevent them from being sued in that fashion again smile.gif.

I'll reserve my final opinion when I see the result. But, I'm reminded of the saying "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." smile.gif

Floyd
post #149 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydster View Post

I'll reserve my final opinion when I see the result. But, I'm reminded of the saying "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." smile.gif

If you've watched HD streaming Netflix lately on a 6 Mbps or better network, then you've probably already seen it. But as I recall, you're a skeptic who's only recently been exploring streaming, so maybe you haven't. If not, you should sign up for the free trial and check it out.
post #150 of 429
Going back to win8.... its actually doing an odd thing on my surface. To get the 3850 stream I have to manually select it, when I let it auto ramp up it will only go to the 3000 tier. I know the surface is 720p in resolution but it does that even when I use the external hdmi to my 1080p tv.

That said the UI for win8 is actually really good (overall the best one I've seen to date). Hopefully the next gen xbox uses the windows store (as rumored) and this app is what takes over on xbox.
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