Netflix to add 1080p support next year
Netflix had originally announced that they would support 1080p s later this year but then they published a press release explaining 2010 was too lofty as a goal for 1080p streaming. They are still streaming about 100 videos in 720p but that is considered a small amount of content available for streaming.
Upgrading to 1080p is not a surprise as major players in the industry have already launched it. For example YouTube did it last fall and Microsoft added 1080p for the Xbox Live service ( they can be the first to offer 1080p Netflix streaming to TV trough a video gaming console). Currently Netflix utilizes Silverlight for their video streaming services.
Netflix is also planning to launch 5.1 surround sound support because several clients reported situations when the video content (even presented as HD) couldn’t support surround sound quality. The new improvements will consume additional bandwidth and according to Cnet the required connection speed for 720p streaming is about 5Mbps.
A 720p frame has about 1 million pixels. Compared to it, a 1080p frame has 2 million pixels so the amount of detail doubles. That’s why 1080p requires much faster connections to handle the resolution.
Have a look at this sample to see the pixel difference:
This move alerts Roku as their set-top-boxes were once the only solution to use streaming services via Netflix without needing a computer. Another thing Roku needs to be aware of is that their current set top boxes don’t offer 1080p support. By adding this capability the prices may increase to $200 but their strategy is actually to lower the prices to make the products more attractive.
You can check a 720p / 1080p comparison HERE.