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Netflix says new compression format will improve picture for HD viewers too

Netflix has attributed some of its impressive growth to its successful and critically acclaimed original show House of Cards. Netflix will now use the second season of the show as a vehicle for its efforts to provide customers with 4k resolution content.
 
Netflix says that the 4K programming will be offered through smart TV apps on next generation 4k TVs. Netflix's Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt said in an interview with Stuff, "We're not naming specific manufacturers, but we have several of the major TV vendors who are going to be producing 4K capable TVs – they'll be announcing them at CES."
 
As for the possibility of 4K streaming content coming to next generation consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, don’t hold your breath.
 
Hunt added, "The new game consoles may eventually be 4K-capable. But the ability to take 4K out of the box and drop it into a separate television is lacking some standards and HDMI 2.0, and it's just a little premature. So we probably will see that, but right now we're talking about 4K Netflix built into the smart TV."

 
While some of us have a hard time streaming full HD resolution broadcasts thanks to slow broadband speeds around much of the U.S., Netflix is leaning on technology to allow owners of 4K TVs to stream the higher resolution format.
 
"We're pushing forward with new encoding technology – we'll be using H.265, which is colloquially known as HEVC, instead of AVC H.264," Hunt explains. "We think with that we're going to be delivering in the 10-16Mbps range – about 15Mbps is probably what we should think of."
 
The new compression format will allow a higher resolution picture without needing a major step up in bitrate. Hunt promises that people that don’t have 4K TVs will also see a benefit, noting, “We're pioneering HEVC, which is about twice as efficient as AVC. And so, when we start to see those HEVC decoders get real, and the encoders get more efficient, we're going to be able to recode all the HD content – and the standard-def content, for that matter – in HEVC. So people with a 2 Mbps DSL will be able to receive a better picture than they do today."

Sources: Stuff, Stuff



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15Mbps my foot
By CaedenV on 12/19/2013 3:17:00 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 20Mbps connection at home and still cannot manage to get a nice solid 1080p stream from most sources, while some of my friends have no trouble with it on a 10Mbps connection. Its all in where you live and who your ISP is today, the numbers of your max up and download are just one little bit of the story.




RE: 15Mbps my foot
By Captain Awesome on 12/20/2013 9:24:33 AM , Rating: 3
Your ISP is probably throttling you. When I was with Rogers I had trouble streaming 1080p videos from YouTube, after switching to TekSavvy I can watch them no problem.

Both ISPs were promising similar speeds, through a cable modem over the same wires.


RE: 15Mbps my foot
By edge929 on 12/20/2013 4:29:26 PM , Rating: 2
I also have a 20Mbps downstream and I regularly see ~2.2MB per second which is right what I expect. You can get a network widget for Windows 7 to watch realtime traffic or just go to speedtest.net.


RE: 15Mbps my foot
By sgestwicki on 12/21/2013 12:16:03 PM , Rating: 2
I had the same problem with Verizon FIOS. 15 Mbps should be fast enough to watch the content but they wouldn't always give me that speed. I have called them repeatedly and and it always seem to magically start working again for whenever I complained despite them saying that nothing was wrong. I finally "fixed" the problem by going into the Netflix options and selecting Medium under "Playback settings".


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