Netflix opens Super HD streaming to Apple TV, other devices

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Netflix bumped up the quality of its HD movie and television streaming service on Thursday, expanding Super HD support for all devices, including the Apple TV set-top box.



The announcement was made via a blog post, with Netflix touting the feature as being available to "all Netflix members, regardless of their Internet service provider." Previously, the service had been available only to customers whose ISPs had a direct connection to Netflix.

Super HD is most useful for 1080p displays that can take advantage of the higher bit rate streams, which Netflix dynamically adjusts based on available bandwidth.

Also benefiting from the service will be customers who access Netflix through the Apple TV set-top box. For those users, Thursday's announcement is but the latest in a string of Netflix service improvements on Apple's streaming device. The company first added 1080p streaming in 2012 alongside automated billing through iTunes in 2012, and brought multiple-user accounts to both iOS devices and Apple TV earlier this year.

It should be noted that HD and Super HD content options are limited to certain titles and can only be displayed on devices supporting HD.

Netflix says the decision to expand Super HD to all customers was the result of continual member requests and a process of examining streaming performance data. The service now uses "adaptive streaming" to adjust video quality depending on available bandwidth. Customers on ISPs with direct connections "will get the best experience," but users on other providers will also see Super HD content depending on bandwidth conditions.

Netflix also took the opportunity to encourage service providers to adopt Netflix Open Connect, the company's optimized video content delivery network. Netflix offers the service to ISPs at no cost, though a number of providers have resisted signing up, due in part to the high level of bandwidth already consumed being consumed by Netflix users.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    Super HD? I only know of [URL=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_high_definition_television]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_high_definition_television[/URL], which is a minimum resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, aka 4K.

    The Apple TV maxes out @ 1080p., so what is Netflix offering? 1080p, or 4K, [S]8K[/S]?

    Either I am completely wrong, or AI needs some serious education in the field of IT.
  • Reply 2 of 28
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post



    Super HD? I only know of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_high_definition_television, which is a minimum resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, aka 4K.



    The Apple TV maxes out @ 1080p., so what is Netflix offering? 1080p, or 4K, 8K?



    Either I am completely wrong, or AI needs some serious education in the field of IT.

    1) Netflix came up with the term 'Super HD" not AI

    2) You didn't read the article.  "super HD" is not referring to the video resolution.  Instead of me telling you what it is referring to, i'll let you read it in the article and figure it out yourself.

  • Reply 3 of 28

    I guess I'm lucky because my ISP's been giving us Super HD via Apple TV for at least 6 months now.  I didn't know they had to have a special arrangement with Netflix.  Go Paxio!

  • Reply 4 of 28
    The article is confusing. It's painting SuperHD as something new to AppleTV- I've had Netflix SuperHD content showing up on my aTV since May of this year.
  • Reply 5 of 28
    gordio wrote: »
    1) Netflix came up with the term 'Super HD" not AI

    Where did you read that?
    2) You didn't read the article.  "super HD" is not referring to the video resolution.  Instead of me telling you what it is referring to, i'll let you read it in the article and figure it out yourself.

    Thanks. So, bit rate:
    Super HD is most useful for 1080p displays that can take advantage of the higher bit rate streams, which Netflix dynamically adjusts based on available bandwidth.

    AppleTV goes up to HiP level 4.0. I presume this is what Netflix means?
    Also benefiting from the service will be customers who access Netflix through the Apple TV set-top box. For those users, Thursday's announcement is but the latest in a string of Netflix service improvements on Apple's streaming device. The company first added 1080p streaming in 2012 alongside automated billing through iTunes in 2012, and brought multiple-user accounts to both iOS devices and Apple TV earlier this year.

    So if Netflix already supported the AppleTV with 1080p content, it now has upped its service. Or so I understand from this paragraph. But upped it to, what, exactly?
    It should be noted that HD and Super HD content options are limited to certain titles and can only be displayed on devices supporting HD.

    This doesn't make anything clear. It could easily be read as any device supporting HD (ie 720) could display this 'Super HD' thingy from Netflix. Where's the clarity in that?
  • Reply 6 of 28
    philboogie wrote: »
    Super HD? I only know of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_high_definition_television, which is a minimum resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, aka 4K.

    The Apple TV maxes out @ 1080p., so what is Netflix offering? 1080p, or 4K, 8K?

    Either I am completely wrong, or AI needs some serious education in the field of IT.

    My guess would be that they're using a lossless compression method.
  • Reply 7 of 28
    Some info from Netflix. I knew the internet was slow in The States, but this data from their site can't be right, right?

    USA ISP SPEED INDEX
    AUGUST 2013

    RANK CHANGE ISP NAME AVG SPEED (Mbps*)
    1 GOOGLE FIBER 3.58
    2 CABLEVISION - OPTIMUM 2.55
    3 COX 2.47
    4 SUDDENLINK 2.40
    5 VERIZON - FIOS 2.14
    6 CHARTER 2.05
    7 TIME WARNER CABLE 2.05
    8 COMCAST 2.04
    9 MEDIACOM 2.00
    10 BRIGHT HOUSE 1.95
    11 AT&T - U-VERSE 1.92
    12 WINDSTREAM 1.75
    13 FRONTIER 1.72
    14 CENTURYLINK 1.70
    15 VERIZON - DSL 1.41
    16 AT&T - DSL 1.39
    17 CLEARWIRE 1.18

    Their "Open Connect Appliance Hardware" is a good read:

    [URL=https://signup.netflix.com/openconnect/hardware]https://signup.netflix.com/openconnect/hardware[/URL]

    "To achieve over 100 TB of storage, spinning hard drives provide the highest affordable density, in particular 36 3TB SATA units. The hard drives are not hot swappable, because we wish to avoid the operational burden of field service."

    "Dead drives reduce the total storage available for the system, but don't take it offline. We also add 1 TB of flash storage (2 solid state drives) for system files, logs and popular content."
  • Reply 8 of 28
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    My guess would be that they're using a lossless compression method.

    As I understand it, they're dynamically adapting to the end-users internet speed, adjusting the bitrate but not the image resolution, which seems to max out at 1080.

    edit: Aha!

    "Please note that Super HD requires an Internet connection speed of at least 5Mb/s, and 7Mb/s for our highest available video quality."

    https://help.netflix.com/article/en/node/8731?ba=GSButtonClick&q=superhd
  • Reply 9 of 28
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    I've already had Super HD Netflix on my Apple TV for a bit now.

     

    I bought my Apple TV this summer in Europe, when I was on vacation, and I was watching Super HD Netflix as soon as I set up the Apple tv.

     

    However, when I came back to the US, I no longer had Super HD on Netflix, due to Time Warner.

     

    It's good that Netflix now offers Super HD to everybody with an Apple tv, regardless of cable provider.

  • Reply 10 of 28
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Netflix bumped up the quality of its HD movie and television streaming service on Thursday, expanding Super HD support for all devices, including the Apple TV set-top box.


     

    But are they actually increasing the quality of the movies or simply streaming at a higher rate?
  • Reply 11 of 28
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Netflix bumped up the quality of its HD movie and television streaming service on Thursday, expanding Super HD support for all devices, including the Apple TV set-top box.



     

     


    But are they actually increasing the quality of the movies or simply streaming at a higher rate?

     

    Well, they're not going any higher than 1920x1080, obviously, but if the bit rate is increased, then the quality is also increased.

     

    It's not just about the resolution. 1920x1080 with a low bit rate is crap compared to 1920x1080 with a high bit rate.

     

    And, it depends on the particular movie of course. Not all Netflix movies are Super HD and not all are regular HD.

  • Reply 12 of 28
    apple ][ wrote: »
    chris_ca wrote: »
     
    Netflix bumped up the quality of its HD movie and television streaming service on Thursday, expanding Super HD support for all devices, including the Apple TV set-top box.


     



    But are they actually increasing the quality of the movies or simply streaming at a higher rate?

    Well, they're not going any higher than 1920x1080, obviously, but if the bit rate is increased, then the quality is also increased.

    It's not just about the resolution. 1920x1080 with a low bit rate is crap compared to 1920x1080 with a high bit rate.

    And, it depends on the particular movie of course. Not all Netflix movies are Super HD and not all are regular HD.

    That certainly is true, on all accounts.

    --

    What I don't get the limited number of peers. Will it still mean their adaptive bitrate is globally available, end user internet speed provided?

    https://signup.netflix.com/openconnect/locations

    Private Network Interconnect Sites
    City
    Amsterdam
    Ashburn
    Atlanta
    Chicago
    Dallas
    Dublin
    London
    London
    London
    Los Angeles
    Los Angeles
    Miami
    New York
    New York
    New York
    San Jose
    São Paulo
    São Paulo
    Seattle
    Stockholm
    Stockholm

    Peering Exchanges
    City
    Amsterdam
    Ashburn
    Atlanta
    Chicago
    Dallas
    London
    London
    London
    Los Angeles
    Miami
    New York
    New York
    New York
    San Jose
    São Paulo
    Seattle
    Stockholm
  • Reply 13 of 28
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,806member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post



    Some info from Netflix. I knew the internet was slow in The States, but this data from their site can't be right, right?



    USA ISP SPEED INDEX

    AUGUST 2013



    RANK CHANGE ISP NAME AVG SPEED (Mbps*)

    1 GOOGLE FIBER 3.58

    2 CABLEVISION - OPTIMUM 2.55

    3 COX 2.47

    4 SUDDENLINK 2.40

    5 VERIZON - FIOS 2.14

    6 CHARTER 2.05

    7 TIME WARNER CABLE 2.05

    8 COMCAST 2.04

    9 MEDIACOM 2.00

    10 BRIGHT HOUSE 1.95

    11 AT&T - U-VERSE 1.92

    12 WINDSTREAM 1.75

    13 FRONTIER 1.72

    14 CENTURYLINK 1.70

    15 VERIZON - DSL 1.41

    16 AT&T - DSL 1.39

    17 CLEARWIRE 1.18



    Their "Open Connect Appliance Hardware" is a good read:



    https://signup.netflix.com/openconnect/hardware



    "To achieve over 100 TB of storage, spinning hard drives provide the highest affordable density, in particular 36 3TB SATA units. The hard drives are not hot swappable, because we wish to avoid the operational burden of field service."



    "Dead drives reduce the total storage available for the system, but don't take it offline. We also add 1 TB of flash storage (2 solid state drives) for system files, logs and popular content."

     

    I don't know where you found that but it doesn't seem very accurate. I am currently downloading some big files but even with that heavy download going here is my speed. I usually get about 48/15 if I am not downloading files.

     

  • Reply 14 of 28
    gwmac wrote: »
    I don't know where you found that but it doesn't seem very accurate.

    Straight from their site, published monthly:

    http://blog.netflix.com/2013/09/netflix-isp-speed-index-adds-global.html?m=1

    Like I wrote, it can't be right. Mind you; they do say average

    edit: your test does note: 'faster than 81% of US'

    May I ask, is this fiber or coax? Expensive?

    edit 2: found it. Hmm, quite expensive, at $99/m for 50Mb, when compared with my prices, which are 50-60% of that
  • Reply 15 of 28
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,806member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post





    Straight from their site, published monthly:



    http://blog.netflix.com/2013/09/netflix-isp-speed-index-adds-global.html?m=1



    Like I wrote, it can't be right. Mind you; they do say average



    edit: your test does note: 'faster than 81% of US'



    May I ask, is this fiber or coax? Expensive?



    edit 2: found it. Hmm, quite expensive, at $99/m for 50Mb, when compared with my prices, which are 50-60% of that

     

    I pay $60 a month but that includes unlimited internet and also landline phone service. The internet part alone is about $45. I don't know anyone that pays $99 a month for just internet. You wrongly assumed I was on the most expensive plan. I get close to 50MB speeds but have a much cheaper package. No reason to pay more when I already get great speeds for $45.   Usually we bundle it with telephone and also cable TV as a package which also adds to savings and Cox charges different prices depending on locations and also other discounts. 

  • Reply 16 of 28
    gwmac wrote: »
    I pay $60 a month but that includes unlimited internet and also landline phone service. The internet part alone is about $45. I don't know anyone that pays $99 a month for just internet. You wrongly assumed I was on the most expensive plan. I get close to 50MB speeds but have a much cheaper package. No reason to pay more when I already get great speeds for $45.   Usually we bundle it with telephone and also cable TV as a package which also adds to savings and Cox charges different prices depending on locations and also other discounts. 

    Thanks. I saw their offerings. Over here it's around €65 for 50Mb, TV and landline phone, per month, incl. tax. DSL is more expensive; I pay too much for my 20 down / 1 up + VoIP for €50
  • Reply 17 of 28

    So… “super HD”, as distinct from HD (720) and “true HD” (1080), as well as “Ultra HD” (4K) and Super Hi-Vision (8K).

     

    Great. Just freaking get H.265 support done up so we don’t have to worry about low bitrates killing quality!

  • Reply 18 of 28
    My guess is that they use the term "HD" for 720p and "Super HD" for 1080p. I have had the latter since Netflix offered their service in my country, and my Smart-TV says 1080p for the signal it receives.
  • Reply 19 of 28
    So… “super HD”, as distinct from HD (720) and “true HD” (1080), as well as “Ultra HD” (4K) and Super Hi-Vision (8K).

    Great. Just freaking get H.265 support done up so we don’t have to worry about low bitrates killing quality!

    Good point! Both of them, so I guess good points.
    dalle wrote: »
    My guess is that they use the term "HD" for 720p and "Super HD" for 1080p. I have had the latter since Netflix offered their service in my country, and my Smart-TV says 1080p for the signal it receives.

    Good point! This is what I was presuming as well. The article/Netflix isn't being clear here.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    They ought to stick with industry-standard terminology rather than invent a new term. Either say 1080p HD (if that's what they mean as opposed to 720p HD) or just say they've increased the bit-rate. H.265/HEVC claims half the bit-rate for equivalent quality as h.264 or double the quality for the same bit-rate. Hopefully we'll see h.265 hardware support in Apple's future SoC's, though the computational complexity is much higher, even for decoding.
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