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Odd Netflix issue - X-High/HD no longer available - Page 3

post #61 of 429
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericksonts View Post

I stand corrected on the Sony issue. I had not read the previous entries in the thread carefully enough.
The unresolved question now is whether Netflix has abandoned 1080p temporarily or permanently, or whether there is some kind of technical glitch affecting only some devices. In this thead we have Western Digital streamers, PS3s, some Panasonic plasma TVs, and maybe a Sony Blu-ray player. If Netflix has shut down all 1080p streaming then eventually all devices capable of streaming Netflix at 1080p AND which permit the viewer to confirm this level of service should surface in this thread. I have checked both the Roku and Apple TV official forums and found no evidence of our problem, but I don't consider this definitive. It is possible that the users of these devices are not able to check for x- high. For example, my 2010 Samsung plasma TV does not appear to have a quality indicator for its integrated Neftlix streaming app, nor does the embedded quality indicator in the "8 hour Example" video appear.
It would be great if someone would test whether these, and other, alternate devices are experiencing our problem.
Of course, there is the possibility that Netflix could be testing the waters in a very quiet way, and disabling only a portion of their 1080p customers in order to measure the outrage, or lack thereof. I agree with those commenters who fear that Netflix might be abandoning 1080p streaming in order to reduce costs. It has always impressed me that, unlike Vudu with their HDX, Netflix doesn't stress 1080p or PQ in their advertising. Their strong desire to ween customers off Blu-ray and into streaming is not a comforting forerunner.
I noticed that the bitrate on the 8-hour sample video ONLY shows on adaptive streams. My older TV and BD players, which do the speed test first, never showed the bitrate. I also think it's interesting the bitrate disappears on the shorter sample video even with adaptive. That seems as if it's switching to the non-adaptive feed at some point.

Does anyone know somebody with an Xbox or Roku? Can they display the bitrate in some form?
post #62 of 429
Mine wasn't even staying at " High" last night. Went down to medium dozens of times and even to SD once or twice. FIOS wired panny plasma
post #63 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by plasma21 View Post

Maybe....maybe not....
Hypothetically, I am planning to get in touch with a stock analyst covering NFLX and make them aware of this issue. If i am an analyst I would sure as hell want to know about unadvertised changes being made by the company to its service.
More importantly, netflix operators can bamboozle us on the phone and evade our questions. Not so easy to do so with an analyst whose good graces you kind of need....

It would be also good to get some journalist from a major tech news websites such as CNET News or AllThingsD pointed to this thread so they could write a news article about Netflix silently downgrading the quality of their service while keeping the same monthly price...
post #64 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by drdsouza View Post

It would be also good to get some journalist from a major tech news websites such as CNET News or AllThingsD pointed to this thread so they could write a news article about Netflix silently downgrading the quality of their service while keeping the same monthly price...

Those sites are just post worthless news about Apple products and social media. If it was not for this great forum community I would have thought I was the only one having this problem. Glad I am not.
post #65 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddice View Post

Like I said before 720p does not look that bad because I only have a 32" 1080p TV however I do notice the difference between there 1080p streams as 720p the colors are more washed out and they have a more pinkish tilt to them. Still not as bad as the abomination Low/SD which they should get rid off.

I agree that while the 720p streams aren't bad, the difference is definitely noticeable. I have a 50in plasma and often see compression artifacts/crushed blacks in darker scenes and the X-High just looks sharper.
post #66 of 429
Another possibility that nobody has yet mentioned is that Netflix may be setting us up for a new 'Premium' service option, for additional $$$, of course!...

LeeB
post #67 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeb View Post

Another possibility that nobody has yet mentioned is that Netflix may be setting us up for a new 'Premium' service option, for additional $$$, of course!...
LeeB

The thought had occurred to me. I just thought the company is afraid to raise prices after the 2011 fiasco. I care about the premium pic quality and would pay more....I ama huge fan of NF service but really hate how the company operates.
Edited by plasma21 - 12/4/12 at 7:39am
post #68 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by andyross63 View Post


Does anyone know somebody with an Xbox or Roku? Can they display the bitrate in some form?

I use a Roku 2 XS.

It doesn't show an indication of what stream you are getting (X-High/HD etc). I find the best way to check is to look at the real-time bandwidth on my router. A 10 minute average gives a pretty good indication.

I am seeing the same real-time bandwidth through my Roku when playing Netflix titles as I have seen in the past. On 1080P titles it is consistent with bandwidth posted by michaelscott here http://www.avsforum.com/t/1440503/odd-netflix-issue-x-high-hd-no-longer-available/30#post_22653885

It also looks similar to what I have seen in the past on my 55" Plamsa - so as far as I can tell I am still getting 1080P/5.1 streams on my Roku.

I have a 20 Mbit/s cable connection.

Is there any way to see the actual realtime bandwidth (Mbps) the PS3 (or WD Live) is getting - or do any of you have routers that let you look at the realtime bandwidth?
post #69 of 429
Interesting. You suggest that it's a possible bug in Sony's stream status indicator. If that is the problem, why does it work correctly for the 8 hour example clip? I'll check it out.
post #70 of 429
Slightly off-topic, but I suspect many readers of this thread will find the below-linked article encouraging, amusing, or ironic: Reed Hastings showering praise on the PS3.

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-12-04-ps3-becomes-top-netflix-device-in-the-world
post #71 of 429
There is no bug in Sony indicator.

My router shows sustained 40 MBytes per minute of download in the example short in x-high HD. So 5.3 Mbps.

On all the High HD titles it shows 27 Mbytes per minute. So 3.6 Mbps.
post #72 of 429
If its a bug then it's affecting panny plasmas too...
post #73 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

Interesting. You suggest that it's a possible bug in Sony's stream status indicator. If that is the problem, why does it work correctly for the 8 hour example clip? I'll check it out.

Just trying to eliminate possibilities,

It could be an issue in the streams that Sony, WD Live, Panasonic TV's are getting - or it could be a bug in the status indicator.

Try playing one of your favorite stress tests Ong Bak 2 on your Roku and PS3.

On my Roku 2 tonight it looks like this - so initially up to 30+ mbps and an average 5.6 mbps over the 10 minutes.



Edited by undecided - 12/4/12 at 11:50pm
post #74 of 429
The Example 8 Hour 23.976 on my Roku 2 from a few minutes in after the test screens until the next set of test screens (the test screens are static so require little bandwidth - hence the slow speed at the beginning and end of the 10 minutes)

The Roku 2 is reporting Bitrate 4800 kbps, Res 1920 x 1080 on screen through the 10 minutes

post #75 of 429
(Crap! I screwed up this post while copying something out of it. Oh well).
Edited by michaeltscott - 12/8/12 at 2:12pm
post #76 of 429
I was thinking of getting the 1080p Apple TV and hooking that up. Will that provide a x-high HD type picture? Or if it is the encoding then the problem is at the source?
post #77 of 429
This is not limited to Sony products. My LG BP620 Blu-ray player updated it's software a few weeks back. Since then I've not been able to see HD streams hit X-High. I figured there was a small update on Netflix's side to simply not show this option anymore. Before the update I don't remmeber seeing much of a difference between HD/X-High and HD/High streams. There was a notable difference when it dipped to HD/Medium. Still this is very strange.
post #78 of 429
Everyone should listen to what michaelscott is saying. Netflix is always tweaking its service and ISP's are always bandwidth limited in relation to their total subscriber base (same problem with telephone networks and electrical grids) That's the reality of streaming over the internet. It's a constant balancing act between demand and bandwidth availability. Two years ago, everyone was arguing over SD and 720p HD
post #79 of 429
Then how come Vudu can stream at nearly Blu-Ray quality then. I am not pleased with this. This is just another bonehead move from Netflix. At least give us a option to enable 1080p streams for those who have the bandwidth and don't have any data caps. Also give us a option to disable small credits and auto-play.
post #80 of 429
Also the big news now on Netflix is there exclusive deal with Disney when I search for Netflix on Google under the news section and they said that they won't be raising the rates. Google is not as good of a search engine but at least when I go under the news section I find up to date news about Netflix. The worthless Hacking Netflix does not even mentioned the Disney deal there is just one update from last Monday and this Monday about new DVD and streaming content which I can find out quicker on Instant Watcher.
post #81 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddice View Post

Then how come Vudu can stream at nearly Blu-Ray quality then. I am not pleased with this. This is just another bonehead move from Netflix. At least give us a option to enable 1080p streams for those who have the bandwidth and don't have any data caps.

What I'm saying is that I think that we still are getting 1080p streams, they're just encoded at an approximately 15% lower bit rate by new encoder tech that Netflix announced having purchased back in February (again, see this). I was expecting this move (of course, they could have used the tech to deliver higher quality at the same bit rates but that seemed unlikely), but I thought that the new bit rates would be even lower, since eyeIO promises "bandwidth savings of up to 50% compared to other encoders". I think that the bit rate tier indicators are never saying "X-High/HD" because they decide what to display based on the bit rate of the encoding that they're receiving--the new 1080p encodes are higher bit rate than the old "High/HD" but lower than the old "X-High/HD". The "Example 8 Hour 23.976" clip hasn't been re-encoded yet.
post #82 of 429
I found more evidence of the change in encoding bit rates--the high bit rate on the PC "Stream Manager" has changed! (The Stream Manager is a little dialog in the web player which lets you restrict the player to using a single bit rate):




The image on the left is of the Stream Manager Dialog when playing "Example 8 Hour 23.976"; on the right is the dialog while playing Ong Bak 2. (To see this, play an HD title in the web player, left-click in the window to give the player keyboard focus and type CTRL-SHIFT-ALT-S). Everything is the same except for the second 720p bit rate ("High/HD"), which used to be 3600 Kbps and is now 3000 Kbps, a 20% reduction. Sadly the web player can't access the 1080p encode--if it could, the Stream Manager presumably would have shown its bit rate (if it's the same 80% of the old, it'd be 3840 Kbps).

Seems strange that they haven't re-encoded at least the 2350 Kbps "Medium/HD" encode but perhaps that's coming later.
Edited by michaeltscott - 12/5/12 at 1:43pm
post #83 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

What I'm saying is that I think that we still are getting 1080p streams, they're just encoded at an approximately 15% lower bit rate by new encoder tech that Netflix announced having purchased back in February (again, see this). I was expecting this move (of course, they could have used the tech to deliver higher quality at the same bit rates but that seemed unlikely), but I thought that the new bit rates would be even lower, since eyeIO promises "bandwidth savings of up to 50% compared to other encoders". I think that the bit rate tier indicators are never saying "X-High/HD" because they decide what to display based on the bit rate of the encoding that they're receiving--the new 1080p encodes are higher bit rate than the old "High/HD" but lower than the old "X-High/HD". The "Example 8 Hour 23.976" clip hasn't been re-encoded yet.

That could make sense. The "Example 8 Hour 23.976" seems to have a slightly higher bit rate (when showing active images rather than test patterns) in my graphs above.

When you tested Ong Bak 2 did you have Thai 5.1 audio selected? Your 10 minute average for the Roku 2 is 5119.99 kps compared to 5678.70 I saw (see graph above).
post #84 of 429
Good findings. I would still like to know from Netflix what they are doing. No news or announcement on this is what is annoying me the most.
post #85 of 429
I played "Example 8 Hour 23.976" on my PC and the Stream Manager dialog lists the 3600 Kbps value for it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by undecided View Post

When you tested Ong Bak 2 did you have Thai 5.1 audio selected? Your 10 minute average for the Roku 2 is 5119.99 kps compared to 5678.70 I saw (see graph above).

As you can see from the curve, the encoding is highly variable bit rate and the 10 minute average varies from second to second. I always sample minutes 5 through 14 (to keep stream start-up weirdness out of it)--if your window was even a few seconds skewed it might make that difference. In the past, I've tried sampling minutes 15-24 and gotten an average around 3500 Kbps, down from 6200 Kbps for minutes 5-14.
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddice View Post

Good findings. I would still like to know from Netflix what they are doing. No news or announcement on this is what is annoying me the most.

I wouldn't hold my breath for them to say anything about this--it's "under the hood" stuff and keeping those of us who pay attention it to informed isn't something they'd be concerned about. If one of the tech bloggers questioned them they might comment but otherwise not.
post #86 of 429
What is the bottom line then? To me the picture does not look as sharp as before. Am i just imagining that?

Vudu hdx just blows away netflix high HD picture quality for me...
post #87 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by plasma21 View Post

What is the bottom line then? To me the picture does not look as sharp as before. Am i just imagining that?
Vudu hdx just blows away netflix high HD picture quality for me...

That is the bottom line isn't it. What does it look like?

If they reduced the bit rate by 15% or so but kept video/sound quality the same that's OK - it means more will get the 1080P streams and data usage for those with caps is lowered.

Some (including me) might prefer same bit rate and higher quality.

Agreed Vudu HDX looks much better than Netflix - but Vudu HDX is around 9 Mbps.

Netflix (at 5 - 6 Mbps) looks much better than Amazon and Hulu which stream at lower bit rates.

What do others think about the picture quality - to me on a Roku 2 and 55" Plasma it looks similar to what it was before.
post #88 of 429
VUDU HDX has always blown Netflix away. It was clearly shown by msgohan's comparison pics (may they rest in peace); Netflix's 4800 Kbps 1080p was comparable to VUDU's 4500 Kbps (w/sound) 1 bar HDX but not as sharp as VUDU's 2 or 3 bar HDX.

Picture quality can be evaluated objectively, by comparing rendered frames to the source and calculating a signal-to-noise ratio; I've read papers comparing video encoding types on that basis. Prior to making the claim that their encoder produces a better result at lower bit rates, I'd expect eyeIO to be able to provide that kind of proof and Netflix to run their own tests before using it.

It'd be nice if we had screen captures of the new stuff. I have a handful of msgohan's HDMI card caps of Netflix frames at "High/HD" and "X-High/HD" and a few of just "X-High/HD" (with corresponding frames of BDs), saved off before ImageShack tragically reduced them. Perhaps I'll appeal to msgohan to capture those same frames of the new encodings.
post #89 of 429
I'd like to think that theory that they reduced the bit rates while maintaining picture quality is true. This could explain why the display isn't registering X-High but I would think that they would have adjusted this so people wouldn't think they are getting lower quality streams. Additionally, it could just be in my head, but the quality just doesn't look as good as the old X-High streams...
post #90 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbrennan191 View Post

...they would have adjusted this so people wouldn't think they are getting lower quality streams.

Whatever subset of people know about and use those completely undocumented status overlays available on a tiny handful of the several hundred devices with Netflix streaming players. Those features in those players are not maintained by Netflix, but by Sony, etc; it's up to them to patch their players to display the appropriate quality tier indicator, if they even care.
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