Not All Netflix/Hulu+ HD Streaming is the Same

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by bigshot, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    I was comparing the Netflix HD streaming on my iMac to the output of my Roku 3, and I discovered that different players get different image and sound quality.

    A kind gentleman online pointed me to this chart...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Netflix_compatible_devices

    On top of this, if the menu screen on Netflix reads "Available in HD" it will play in HD, but if it reads "Available in HD on your TV" it will only play in HD on specific players. About a third of Netflix's HD content won't play in HD on Apple TV, computers, certain networked blu-ray players and Xbox360. The players that will play these movies in HD include Roku, PS3 and Western Digtal Media Servers. Whether or not a player is able to stream 5:1 sound is a whole different set of players that work and players that don't

    Supposedly, it's the same with Hulu+.

    When I was shopping for a set top box, they all looked pretty much the same. Now that I understand how it all works, at least for Netflix, some players are much better than others. Worth checking into if you plan to put streaming into your home theater.
     
  2. Type A

    Type A HW Reviewer
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    While its improved over time Netflix streaming still represents the least content consumed in my theater. Frankly, if streaming, I expect both poor audio and video performance. Im not sure I would ever let the particulars of Netflix playback affect my ultimate purchase decision, especially when considering a blu ray player. Interesting info, to be sure, but Im not sure the impact for home theater applications.
     
  3. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    My Netflix HD streaming experience is the total opposite of this. Either your player is not streaming in 1080p, or it's the fault of your ISP. Netflix HD looks excellent on my 106" diagonal screen.
     
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  4. Pawl

    Pawl Agent

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    Netflix shows films in Super HD, and it looks crisp and clear on my Apple TV!
     
  5. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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    On my PS3 when I'm watching House of Cards for example, the picture will look like SD for the first few minutes but then will change to HD. Strange that there is no pause in the signal change when this happens.
     
  6. Phototone

    Phototone Auditioning

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    I've noticed this on every show, although in my case, it is only a few seconds, generally goes HD before the credits end. I stream thru a stand-alone bluray player.
     
  7. revgen

    revgen Supporting Actor

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    There is a Netflix video you can watch called "Example Short 23.976" that is 11 minutes long. It shows the bitrate of the stream during the video. If you're not getting 5800kbps (SuperHD bitrate), then you're not getting the best picture. Possibly due to Netflix's servers being too busy, your ISP throttling your Netflix connection (look up net neutrality), a bad router, or a bad internet connection.

    If you have a Roku player, you can add a private channel called Speed Test to check and see if it's your internet/router connection that's bad. https://www.rokuchannels.tv/speedtest/

    If Speedtest is showing speeds in excess of 7000kbps or 7mbps, then it's either a problem with Neflix's servers or your ISP is throttling the Netflix connection.
     
  8. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I have a Google Fiber (gigabit) connection. I have no problem with SuperHD. But let's also get real: not everything on Netflix is available in SuperHD. A ot of it isn't available in any real form of HD.
    While HD on Netflix has improved, and I find it better then DVD quality, it's clearly a short notch below HDTV line streams, and a BIG GIGANTIC drop from Blu-Ray. Netflix falls prey to some of the issues that follow any streaming format; black is not always solid and rich, fast moving films have a tendency to get left over artifacts here and there, audio is clearly not in the same category.. it's better than DVD, it's better then SD TV. It's not bad, I find it quite watchable, but it's not a competitor to say, discs at this point.

    In comparison, VuDu HDX is in a category I'd put just below Blu-Ray, but when I watch the bandwidth meter, it definitely gobbles up a much larger share, even with a 'head start' that it uses
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Many of neftlix multichannel streams use DD+ at 640kbps and sound surprisingly decent compared to DVD, but are nowhere near what you get on Blu-ray. The ISPs are trying to force the hand of Netflix by throttling them now because I was getting super HD and really shockingly good quality 3D for a while there and now get most shows in roughly SD quality even though I have a brand new faster router and good connection speed (~57mbps down). I have Comcast and there was a big article last week talking about them trying to force Netflix to pony up the funds for their own pipe by throttling them for all of their users regardless of traffic.
     
  10. Ron1973

    Ron1973 Beverly Hillbilles nut extraordinaire

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    Wow, I've never had this issue. I know I've said this before in different topics/forums but I simply can't get past how good Netflix looks. Granted, I watch older shows that aren't "top-notch" like a movie but still.

    Yesterday, for instance, I picked up The A-Team on some new station on Directv. I pulled up the same episode on Netflix and it was a much sharper picture. The same goes for Emergency! Our local ME-TV affiliate shows it but it's almost unwatchable because we're used to the hi-def transfers being presented by Netflix.
     
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