Print 46 comment(s) - last by therealnickdan.. on Jan 14 at 3:22 PM

Service will require a disc on the Wii

Netflix is blowing up with new subscribers flocking to the service rather than heading out to the video rental store. Many movie junkies are also now using rental kiosks like those available from Redbox and Blockbuster – movie rental practices for the masses are changing.

One of the coolest things that Netflix has done is to team up with other companies to create an ecosystem of devices from game consoles to Blu-ray players and HDTVs that are capable of streaming on-demand films and TV shows from Netflix. Netflix has seen its profits soar by 48% despite the poor global economy.

In August of 2009, Netflix and Microsoft announced that the Xbox 360 would be the exclusive "native" streaming partner for Netflix on-demand content. Gamers who owned platforms other than the Xbox 360 were probably a bit bummed that their consoles would get no Netflix love. Luckily, Netflix had a trick up its sleeve that allowed it to skirt that exclusivity with Netflix for the PS3.

In October 2009, Netflix and Sony announced that access to Netflix content would be coming to the PS3 game console this spring. Rather than a baked in streaming service like the Xbox 360 offers, the PS3 would get Netflix content using a Blu-ray disc and BD-Live technology. The Blu-ray disc does have to be in the PS3 for the service to work.

Today, Netflix and Nintendo have announced that the Wii is now going to be the third and final major console to get access to the on-demand streaming content library. Netflix again skirts the exclusive deal with Microsoft by offering a disc that has to be in the Wii at all times for the content to be accessible.

Users will need at least a $9 monthly subscription to Netflix to access the streaming catalog. The PS3 and Wii will be cheaper ways to access streaming Netflix content than the Xbox 360. Xbox users are required to have an Xbox Live gold membership to access Netflix content.

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By bradmshannon on 1/13/2010 8:44:08 AM , Rating: 3
I didn't think the Wii's hardware could handle this, so that's great news. I only have a Wii and I don't have an HD TV, yet, so this is really good news for peeps like me :)

RE: Awesome
By Hieyeck on 1/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: Awesome
By bradmshannon on 1/13/2010 9:00:36 AM , Rating: 5
That's why I said that I don't have a HD TV and this is good news for people like me

RE: Awesome
By Hiawa23 on 1/13/2010 9:12:25 AM , Rating: 2
Don't expect too much. The Wii only outputs 480p.

why is this bad, most of the instant watch movies are not HD, infact, the 360 upscales all the movies that are not HD to your res, in my case 1080p, while the PS3 plays the SD in 480p, so don't knock the Wii, The mighty PS3 doesn't even upscale the sd movies. The whole disc requirement thing sucks for both the Wii & PS3, still not sure why they need the disc when the 360 doesn't, but good for Netflix userbase..

RE: Awesome
By therealnickdanger on 1/13/2010 9:43:46 AM , Rating: 2
It's not bad, it's just not ideal. As someone who watches Netflix HD on my 360, it is obscenely better than standard 480p streaming. Almost all modern TV shows are streamed in HD and the number of HD movies is growing.

So yeah, Wii users can not expect the same level of service as a 360 user (or other HD-enabled devices). Don't expect too much.

RE: Awesome
By Hiawa23 on 1/13/10, Rating: 0
RE: Awesome
By therealnickdanger on 1/13/2010 10:25:27 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously a turd in HD is still a turd... so why would anyone want to watch a turd in the first place? That's a straw man if I've ever seen one.

As a recent Wii owner myself (my fiancée has one along with a PS2 and a 360), I can be counted as one of the many people that have a Wii and an HDTV. While I never expect the graphics of Wii games to be good (don't care), the Wii as a Netflix player is useless to me without HD.

For someone with no other option, this is a great thing. It would be nice if Nintendo would toss in a scaler chip and an HDMI controller so HD would at least be possible for those that have it.

RE: Awesome
By Spivonious on 1/13/2010 10:33:10 AM , Rating: 2
Can someone tell me if Netflix HD streaming is truly HD, and not just upsampled by the player? Most standard streaming I watch is about 80% DVD quality, which to me says compressed 480p.

RE: Awesome
By Spivonious on 1/13/2010 10:38:48 AM , Rating: 2
Nevermind, found a couple screenshots and it is definitely better.

I hope this comes to Win7 MC soon.

RE: Awesome
By therealnickdanger on 1/13/2010 11:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
Even though you already have your answer:

Netflix provides two quality levels of HD streams:
720p VC1 Advanced Profile - 2.6Mbps or 3.8Mbps.

Compared to a Blu-Ray's maximum 1080p @ 40Mbps (most Blu-Ray discs hover around 20Mbps), that doesn't seem like much, but compared to Netflix's 480p 500kbps, 1Mbps, 1.6Mbps and 2.2Mbps levels, it's a dramatic improvement.

RE: Awesome
By The0ne on 1/13/2010 11:11:48 AM , Rating: 2
It's not true HD (720p), they downsample for bandwidth sake. There's a netflix article explaining this on their site. A true HD source will require much more bandwidth, again many articles on search (don't use Google until they pull out of China heheh).

But most people are not going to care coming from SD. My co-worker loves it although he has Blu-ray. Actually, he loves the convenience.

And I just wanted to say a turd movie in SD is 10x more of a turd in HD. Cause HD makes it that much "clearer", which in this case might make you vomit.

RE: Awesome
By therealnickdanger on 1/13/2010 12:15:45 PM , Rating: 2
Nonsense. If I remember correctly, Sony started all this when they started labeling their electronics with stickers that said "True High-Definition 1080p". The marketeers want you to believe that if it's not 1080p, it's not HD, but that's not true. The reality is that "high-definition" is anything of higher resolution than "standard-definition" (480i/p). Please see this chart for a complete list of ALL accepted HD formats and keep the ignorance to a minimum:

Also, keep in mind that regardless of bitrate of percieved image quality, a source must only meet the resolution requirement of HD to be considered HD.

RE: Awesome
By Alexstarfire on 1/13/2010 1:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
That might be technically true, but that's about it.

RE: Awesome
By The0ne on 1/13/2010 2:45:30 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry but you're alone in thinking it's only the resolution that counts. I'm sure plenty of us could produce a HD video or 480P or more that's way crappy for you to view, and I'm sure you wouldn't like that.

And yes, I'm aware of what is considered HD but as some users have stated once you start producing 1080P and/or have the sources generally you are referring to HD of 720P or higher, of which 1080P in general. And HD did NOT start with 1080p. There's a progression to 1080p where along the line each one has been called HD. But we're at 1080p now and growing, and if it happens we'll be at twice the resolution in later years.

And I am fully aware of the marketing that companies are putting out there particularly because I love cameras. Most of these are no more than gimmicks and I hope they improve upon them by the end of this year. That is if you can live with 24fps and still not complain that your game doesn't run at 15000000 fps.

So what do you think the general public view as HD regardless of the spec? What do you consider as HD? Should I provide you with a crappy 1080p (1920x1080) video so you can make up your mind to not stray from the wiki info? Maybe visit avs forums for more technical info.

But I agree with you, keep the ignorance to a minimun please. For God's sake or Homer's sake.

RE: Awesome
By 91TTZ on 1/13/2010 3:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
The reality is that "high-definition" is anything of higher resolution than "standard-definition" (480i/p). Please see this chart for a complete list of ALL accepted HD formats and keep the ignorance to a minimum:


From that article:

"High-definition television (HDTV) resolution is 1080 or 720 lines"

Later on in the article they list several different "HDTV" standards, including 576, 720, 1080, etc, then go on to say that the 576p standard is considered HD only in Australia.

"EDTV" (enhanced definition) stands between high definition and standard definition. It didn't look as good as high-def and never really caught on.

RE: Awesome
By Black69ta on 1/14/2010 3:50:32 AM , Rating: 2
Actually I thought that when the HD standard was 1st conceived that HD meant 1080 and ED was 720 and SD was 480. What happened to this terminology, TV's would be much easier to buy if they still used this nomenclature, of course OEM 's would make less on 720's if there was less confusion.

RE: Awesome
By therealnickdanger on 1/14/2010 3:22:14 PM , Rating: 2
You guys are all confusing HDTV standards with what technically qualifies a video source as being "high-definition".

Modern HDTVs come in two primary flavors: 720p and 1080p. They are both counted as "high definition" displays. All content, lower or higher resolution, is forced to fit the native resolution of the display.

HD video sources, on the other hand, can come in roughly any resolution greater than 480. As factually stated, Australia touts 576p (not 576i PAL) as being HD, even though America doesn't. Most 30" computer displays are greater than 1920x1080, but they are not called HDTVs. My whole point is that organization of video resolutions is categorically seperate than that of the display standards. While the mainstream definition of "HD" for both displays and video is 1080p, that is not the only definition.

As with all of those video sources, quality can vary at any stage from filming to encoding to playback. While I wouldn't consider a blurry, muddled, poorly transfered Blu-Ray to be ideal, you can't argue that it isn't 1080p if the transfer from the film was 1080p. This is why it's important to read reviews of Blu-Rays before buying them. There's a reason why "Gone With The Wind" looks better than "The Fugitive" even though both are 1080p. A sad state of affairs...

RE: Awesome
By The Raven on 1/13/2010 11:34:06 AM , Rating: 2
You could use it on a 14" and never know the difference.

We have a 14" in the bedroom for casual viewing (watching MacGuyver episodes on NFLX) Looks great at 8'.

It is actually a relative HD to our eyes when you factor in visual pixel size at that distance.

Anyway, if you don't have any small TVs like we do then disregard my observations, but for the rest of us who still use <26" screens, the improvement with HD is small or possibly unnoticable.

But I'm right there with you on my 40" @ 8'. So that's why the Wii is going in the bedroom and we'll let the 360 stream to the 40" ;-)

RE: Awesome
By cmdrdredd on 1/13/2010 5:44:11 PM , Rating: 1
This is a win win, & if you only own a Wii you don't care about HD anyways.

Not when some Blu-Ray players support NetFlix in HD.

RE: Awesome
By The Raven on 1/13/2010 9:51:29 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Its only recently that people have been using HD content on a large scale. Didn't you all get your converter boxes? ;-)

If people couldn't stand 480i/p then television would never had been a success as an invention. It's been fine for decades and youtube has proved that people think cheap, high value entertainment is more attractive than high-def.

As a user (on PC and Xbox) I can tell you that I prefer the convenience of the streaming service much more than the HD content that comes through. Especially when I'm watching a comedy like 30 Rock. When I watch the Lord of the Rings, you'd better believe that I'd pay more to see that in HD.
I don't want to see Liz Lemon in HD! ;-)

And as far as the disc goes...

Come on people! How lazy is America? Bunch of damn veal calves! Yes it might be frustrating since we have the tech to pull it off, but are limited because of the deal that M$ struck with NFLX. But that is business, and we'll have to live with it for the time being. Really we shouldn't even be mentioning it... Hell, go pick up a disc at your local store or wait 2 days for your next NFLX disc to arrive and then come back and complain. I'm just glad that I have a reason to use the Wii again.

Sorry, Hiawa this isn't really directed at you, but I just get sick of people complaining about things that don't amount to a hill of beans.

RE: Awesome
By FITCamaro on 1/13/2010 2:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
The converter boxes had nothing to do with HD. They dealt with the switch from analog to digital signals. Digital does not mean HD.

RE: Awesome
By nafhan on 1/13/2010 9:26:57 AM , Rating: 3
Anything I've watched on Netflix has been, at best, slightly lower than DVD quality. DVD quality = 480p. So, should be fine.

RE: Awesome
By therealnickdanger on 1/13/2010 11:31:02 AM , Rating: 2
All Netflix SD content is 480p, but even in its highest quality bitrate (4 bars, 2.2Mbps) it is still one fifth the DVD max bitrate.

RE: Awesome
By MPE on 1/13/2010 3:06:41 PM , Rating: 3
But bit rate (aka data rate) is not the end all be all in regards to quality. It all depends on the encoding and sampling method employed.

You can easily have a far superior HD video encoded at 19 Mb/s than a SD video encoded at 25 Mb/s if they use 2 different encoding schemes (ie H.264 vs DV25).

RE: Awesome
By roostitup on 1/13/2010 9:29:41 AM , Rating: 4
Netflix streaming is not HD quality anyways, it's all upscaled from standard def. Having an HDTV doesn't necessarily mean you're getting the highest quality picture if you're streaming. The WII's resolution will look just as good as the xbox and PS3 in terms of netflix streaming.

RE: Awesome
By WW102 on 1/13/2010 9:49:41 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong some are streamed in HD.

RE: Awesome
By The0ne on 1/13/2010 11:19:16 AM , Rating: 2
directly from Netflix, kinda old though...wondering if they updated it :D

RE: Awesome
By Hiawa23 on 1/13/2010 9:37:15 AM , Rating: 1
Don't expect too much. The Wii only outputs 480p.

If you own a Wii & it doesn't output HD resolutions why would you need a HDTV, as to me Wii games look better on a SD TV? I own all 3 of the consoles, & a nice HDTV but bought the Wii for my daughter. I have to figure that most Wii owners, which are probably younger gamers don't care about Hd resolutions anyway. I have been a Netflix subscriber since day 1 & this is nothing but great news. Someone said he didn't think the Wii could handle this, but honestly what does the console need to handle other than needing to be able to stream? My only recent issue with Netflix is they are going to be delaying 20-30 days new releases hoping that this might suppress piracy. Most of my stuff I get on Blu ray, but great news for Wii owners. I have over 100 movies in my instant watch folder, & it's cool just turning on your console & watching a show or movie.

RE: Awesome
By Shadrack2 on 1/13/2010 9:57:26 AM , Rating: 2
If you own a Wii & it doesn't output HD resolutions why would you need a HDTV

Hmmm, I wonder if there could be some other use for a TV than playing video games? Don't know, but if someone could come up with something they could probably make hundreds of dollars.

RE: Awesome
By fictisiousname on 1/13/2010 1:21:28 PM , Rating: 2
Its rather trivial to use a receiver (RX-V765, for example) to up-convert the 480 signal. Matter of fact, I do that with my old DVD player. Alternately, one can stream movies to a HTPC which has a better GPU. Those that DON'T have HTPC, upconverting receiver or BR might find this "new Wii feature" interesting. Sure would be a cheap way to upgrade a bedroom TV, for example.

RE: Awesome
By Hiawa23 on 1/13/2010 9:40:04 AM , Rating: 2
there is a HD Wii console supposedly going to come out this year or early next year, so great news all around.

RE: Awesome
By VooDooAddict on 1/13/2010 3:33:38 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Awesome
By Hiawa23 on 1/13/2010 4:18:25 PM , Rating: 2

It's simply a speculation, no link, & Nintendo isn't going to cop to this but it seems logical. Sorry, I should have said it's rumored.

RE: Awesome
By muIIet on 1/13/2010 9:50:47 AM , Rating: 2
480P = SD DVD.

RE: Awesome
By rtrski on 1/13/2010 3:20:16 PM , Rating: 2 anyone already using the Wii to play games knows.

It's an option for those who don't have (or want) an Xbox or PS3, and for those on intermediate-stage HDTVs (e.g. 1080i or 720p standards, possibly even without HDMI connections) that haven't bothered to get a BluRay player either. Yes, I fall in that category.

And for those of you resolution snobs, you should STILL be happy this is coming. More set-top boxes available = bigger potential customer base for Netflix, as well as bigger demand for streaming hence more of their titles are likely to be converted to streaming.

I believe I've read their long-term goal is all-streaming, no mailing of physical media at all. We all know that'll take a while and maybe 'never' happen (by the time the infrastructure can support Blu-ray type datarates for streaming, we'll be into 3D or something else that takes still higher data rates). But surely any major uptick in retail customer base equates to a corresponding impetus to have the titles available to make that streaming worthwhile.

RE: Awesome
By Spivonious on 1/13/2010 9:33:31 AM , Rating: 2
So I'll have to put up with the loud disc vibrations in the Wii to stream from Netflix? No thanks, I'll stick with my HTPC.

RE: Awesome
By drmo on 1/13/2010 9:55:00 AM , Rating: 2
So I'll have to put up with the loud disc vibrations in the Wii to stream from Netflix? No thanks, I'll stick with my HTPC.

It will probably just have to read the disc once to verify and load a file or two. I doubt it will continuously have to read the disc.

RE: Awesome
By GreenEnvt on 1/13/2010 9:59:12 AM , Rating: 2
I'd assume it will just spin up when you launch it, not the whole time the movie is going since the movie is coming in over wifi. At worst, the disk should only be needed if you are navigating menus or changing settings.

RE: Awesome
By Spivonious on 1/13/2010 10:18:01 AM , Rating: 2
A more ideal solution would be to enable copying the disc to an SD card. I filled up the internal memory on the Wii very quickly once Beatles Rockband came out. Added an 8GB SD card and now I have almost 60000 empty "blocks".

RE: Awesome
By Alexstarfire on 1/13/2010 1:51:39 PM , Rating: 2
Loud? Only game I've actually noticed the disc spinning is when Super Smash Brothers Brawl is loading..... and that's it.

RE: Awesome
By Spivonious on 1/13/2010 2:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah mine used to be quiet. But about a 1.5 years after I got it, discs started getting louder. Now I have to turn up the volume to cover up the noise. Apparently it's a design flaw. I'd get it fixed but my Wii is out of warranty.

RE: Awesome
By inperfectdarkness on 1/13/2010 10:14:20 AM , Rating: 2
it's about time.

seriously, if people REALLY cared THAT much about HD movies--blu-ray would already be outselling dvd. this is all i've wanted since switching to netflix.

f**k the $11 movie tickets & $5 blockbuster rental fees.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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