Originally Posted by VinnyS
For all Canadian subscribers, we are not going to see this happen for a while. This is for U.S. Subscribers only....at this time.
Bell Canada is part of Netflix Open Connect.
I can confirm I'm watching Super HD streams (1080p / DD5.1) through an AppleTV gen3.
They look far better than Bell FibeTV and Rogers Cable.
Certain movies such as "Hugo" were near Blu-Ray quality; they seemed to be direct-from-master-encode-into-1080p with no recompression steps that happens very frequently. Unlike most Netflix material, for "Hugo", not once I saw a single compression artifact (not even in sky, water, snow, gradients) for that specific movie at 2:1 viewing distance to screen width for a flat panel TV. I had to move up to 1:1 screen width (projector setup league) and intentionally paying attention to compression artifacts, which I'm pretty familiar with in the torture-test material, only to see them faintly. "Hugo" was still very watchable. 25Mbps connection (Bel FibeTV 16+ subscription; which boosts to 25Mbps if all TV's are turned off). Buffering took only 5 seconds and it started playing straight into 1080p with no low-quality rampup. Bandwidth meter showed about 6+ gigabytes consumed after the movie ended, so it appears I was getting top bitrate (I changed Netflix preferences to use max bitrate).
Alas, most content on Netflix are crap. Still worth the $8/mo even even if just three movies a month, since the picture quality is significantly better than Bell FibeTV and Rogers Cable, and closed captioning on Netflix Canada is now widespread (finally!) since I am deaf; unlike Bell VOD which is rarely captioned. The caption fonts on AppleTV is also much better too, and I don't need to jump through hoops to watch something reasonably appealing at a random time (channel flipping, scheduling stuff for PVR's, keeping season passes/series records updated, etc). Netflix used to be terrible for keeping things closed captioned in Canada, but captioning for the deaf is much better now.
The random access nature of Netflix is more important to some people than PVR-scheduling or channel flipping. Some of us don't watch (much) sports, for example. Although USA Netfix has more content, surprisingly Canada Netflix has more TV shows. (I was surprised to find obscure episodes of FlashForward, for example!). I mainly keep a TV subscription because I like NatGeo and Discovery, and my spouse likes HGTV. We watch less than 10 hours of television/movies a week, and our schedules are busy, so the conveniently random-access nature of Netflix (with a good GUI like Boxee, AppleTV, etc) has suddenly become surprisingly more important than the amenities of a cable box, ever we first really started using recently. Click, click, watch. Shows go directly into better-than-cable-1080p less than 5 seconds after pressing play (quick buffer delay). We were surprised to find that the social aspect showed that it is faster to choose Netflix content to play, than to channel-flip(or scroll PVR recordings) through our Bell FibeTV. Unexpected factor -- Lower "spousal frustration" factor; how is that not worth $8, especially if the picture is better than cable? In the AppleTV gen3 UI (and presumably, any good GUI of any other good Netflix player), the ratings system in Netflix, combined with the fancy cover pictures, plus detailed information, and reasonably accurate predictions of what you like to watch. Some things are quite limiting, and annoying, but the convenience-per-dollar and quality-per-dollar is rather good (as I'm on the Netflix Open Connect and get all the "better-than-cable-even-if-not-BluRay" SuperHD goodness now). Some features that certain U.S. carriers have a series "Catch Up" feature tantamount to VOD giving access to all previous episodes of the current TV show you're watching on the current channel. We'd love that feature, but we don't get that on our FibeTV (yet).
Again, I've avoided Netflix for many years until recently, for two reasons -- video and captions.
I'm deaf and need captions -- and I'm a guy that picks Blu-Ray over DVD -- I can tell apart 720p and 1080p at 2:1 view-distance-vs-screen-width. The picture quality finally consistently crossed the "better than cable TV" line. Not Blu Ray quality. Albiet darn nearly for some. (at least for movies like "Hugo" that look as if it is encoded direct from masters). But good enough for $8. I'm on the Netflix Open Connect so it appears I'm now consistently getting the best bitrates, even on the first second of playback with only a very short buffering delay. The showstoppers considerations are solved for me now. (Rough estimate: 90% of what I'm interested on Netflix now seems to have captions. This used to be less than 50%) And since we're 10-hour-a-week watchers, the bandwidth cap is manageable (for now -- knock on wood).
P.S. Tip....If you have Bell FibeTV, demand a Sagecom router. The Cellpipe routers are crap.
P.P.S. Never use WiFi for streaming Netflix to your TV. Connect that Ethernet cable to your AppleTV, Boxee, or whatever.Edited by Mark Rejhon - 1/17/13 at 2:28pm