Press Release: Netflix Taps Dolby for High-Definition Audio

Discussion in 'Streaming and Digital Media' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Netflix Taps Dolby for High-Definition Audio


    Dolby Digital Plus Brings 5.1-Channel Surround Sound to Movies and TV Shows Instantly Streamed from the Leading Online Movie Subscription Service


    LOS GATOS, Calif. and SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: DLB) today announced that Netflix has selected Dolby® Digital Plus to deliver 5.1-channel surround sound for TV shows and movies streamed instantly over the Internet. Beginning October 18, the PlayStation®3 (PS3™) computer entertainment system from Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. will be the first consumer electronics device to support 5.1-channel surround sound on movies streamed from Netflix. Netflix said more devices would be added over time to support streaming digital surround sound.

    "Netflix is committed to delivering an unparalleled experience to its members who watch TV shows and movies streamed instantly over the Internet," said Greg Peters, Netflix vice president of product development. "Netflix required an audio solution that could efficiently deliver an outstanding surround sound experience for a wide range of consumer devices. Dolby Digital Plus proved to be the best solution to meet our needs and the needs of our device partners."


    Dolby Digital Plus supports up to 7.1 channels of premium-quality surround sound and allows consumers to enjoy outstanding high-definition audio from broadcasts, streaming and downloaded media, and Blu-ray Disc™. To date, tens of millions of TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray Disc players, Audio/Video receivers, and mobile phones have shipped with Dolby Digital Plus.

    "Dolby Digital Plus makes the online entertainment experience rich, realistic, and memorable," said John Couling, vice president, marketing, products & platforms, Dolby Laboratories. "Dolby is excited to be working with Netflix and its partners to provide premium Dolby surround sound to Netflix subscribers. This collaboration will enable subscribers to enjoy movies and TV shows presented in surround sound just as the artists and directors intended."

    Dolby Digital Plus is a sophisticated audio system based on Dolby Digital that has been adopted by many of the world's leading broadcasters, TV and set-top-box manufacturers, and device makers to provide consumers with full digital surround sound. It is designed to adapt to the changing demands of entertainment delivery while retaining compatibility with existing Dolby Digital 5.1-channel home theater systems.


    About Dolby Laboratories

    Dolby Laboratories (NYSE: DLB) is the global leader in technologies that are essential elements in the best entertainment experiences. Founded in 1965 and best known for high-quality audio and surround sound, Dolby creates innovations that enrich entertainment at the movies, at home, or on the go. Visit www.dolby.com for more information.


    About Netflix, Inc.

    With more than 15 million members in the United States and Canada, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is the world's leading Internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV shows. For $8.99 a month, Netflix members in the U.S. can instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes streaming right to their TVs and computers and can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. In Canada, streaming unlimited movies and TV shows from Netflix is available for $7.99 a month. There are never any due dates or late fees with Netflix. Among the large and expanding base of supported devices streaming from Netflix are the Microsoft® Xbox 360®, Nintendo® Wii™, and Sony Computer Entertainment's PS3 consoles; Blu-ray Disc players from the Best Buy(SM) Insignia brand, LG®, and Samsung; Internet TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio®; the Roku® digital video player and TiVo(SM) digital video recorders; and the Apple® iPhone®, iPad™, and iPod® touch. All of these devices are available for purchase in the United States. A growing number of supported devices are available for purchase in Canada. For more information, visit www.netflix.com.

    Dolby is a registered trademark of Dolby Laboratories. Netflix is a registered trademark of Netflix, Inc.. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners. DLB-G
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    This is great news.


    I have stopped buying DVDs and only purchasing

    absolutely necessary titles on Blu-ray.


    I think for 2011 I am going to be streaming far more

    than purchasing. To now discover that Dolby Digital

    will be incorporating their surround sound into these

    presentations is very thrilling.
     
  3. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Cinematographer
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    It will be interesting to see what the bandwidth requirements are for this to work.
     
  4. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    My Vizio TV has Netflix built-in, but since I activated it in March the sound has been MONO (upon further checking, it's actually just the right channel's sound played through both the left and right)! I complained to both Netflix and Vizio right away, but as of now they haven't fixed it, so I've been watching instead on my laptop computer hooked to the TV and sound system. (Picture quality ranges from acceptable to awful.) If they're upgrading the PS3 to do 5.1 and 1080 resolution, I hope they can do the same for TVs that stream Netflix.
     
  5. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

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    I got my discless update to PS-3 Netflix last night, which includes the surround audio.


    The menu system for selecting a movie is quite different - it offers more movies and many more categories. It may take a while to get used to it, but it is nice! One little wrinkle: you need to hit the PS button to exit the app. My remote doesn not have a dedicated PS button, so I had to go after the bat-cycle game controller. I suppose I could get real clever and add a PS button somewhere on my Harmony 1100....aint that what its for?


    I'll be very interested to hear the surround sound, just as soon as I find a movie that has 5.1 sound.
     
  6. FreyTheater

    FreyTheater Stunt Coordinator

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    Ooo, I'll have to check into that - I had been using the Netflix disc on our PS3, but haven't used it in a while - I didn't realize they went discless now... cool.


    EDIT: OK, I got an email from Netflix about the upgrade just last night, so I'm good to go... thanks for the heads-up!
     
  7. FrankMarten

    FrankMarten Auditioning

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    It will be interesting to see what the bandwidth requirements are for this to work.


    modern rugs
     
  8. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

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    Does anyone have a list of movies available in 5.1 and 1080(i or p) ?


    I spent some time looking, and never saw an indication of the rez and audio, other than the "HD" label on some films, which could mean 720p


    I'm dying to see how it sounds...that is a heck of a lot of data to stream!


    Rather than a "high quality experience" I still see streaming as a sort of "audition" mode, to see if I'd like to get the blu-ray.


    I tried streaming some of the 3D trailers through the Samsung TV, but that was pretty buggy, slow, and frequently interrupted. Not viable.
     
  9. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Cinematographer
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    So far, only a handful of titles are listed as "HD" and "5.1" within the app, and you have to bring up the info on each title to see it. I imagine older HD titles that are likely to remain with the Netflix library will be upgraded to 5.1. What I find annoying is that the bitrate display has been disabled and replaced with very vague information on the data stream, with the video being labeled in terms of quality rather than codec or resolution, and audio being labeled as either "stereo" or "5.1." Since the PS3 outputs the audio as PCM, there is no way to really determine what the audio codec and bitrate are.


    I did a comparison of "Stargate SG-1: The Ark of Truth" with my Blu-ray copy and the HD 5.1 Netflix stream. The Blu-ray blew the Netflix stream out of the water on all counts, but it still looked as good if not better than DVD. On the Netflix stream, colors were not as vibrant, detail was soft, and audio was more compressed and did not have the dynamic range or boom that the Blu-ray's DTS-HD track has.




    My internet connection is through Time-Warner, and I'm getting their 6 mbps tier. My PS3 is hardwired into my router to get the maximum speeds. I very rarely get stutters or pauses, and have been getting decent (though not great) HD audio and 5.1 sound since the launch on Monday.


    However, when I had DSL through AT&T, with a maximum download speed of 1.5 mbps, most of the time I could only get Netflix streams in standard def, with stutters and pauses.
     
  10. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

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    Yessss..... I've finally found a few titles with "X HD" and "5.1" llisted. So far none of them are movies I really want to watch (Bitch Slap? really?).

    My DSL is ATT mid-tier, and is fine for the highest rez with 5.1 sound. I doubt that it will handle the (eventual) 3D content.


    I'm disappointed that Netflix does not give us better nomentclature - we used to see 480i and 720p and I was hoping they'd say 1080i or 1080p. Now, apparently, the PS3 does the up-rez so that that TV always gets 1080p.


    I don't have the HDMI connection for audio, so everything is optical. I can't imagine that streaming would provide the same audio quality that I get from a disk. As I say, it's more of an audition mode than a top-quality watching mode.


    Still, it is nice to see improvements to the content without me paying for a new device!
     

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