Netflix fans, your streaming video service is just about to accommodate higher HDTV resolution in glorious 1080p. It's unclear exactly when this 1080p streaming with 5.1 surround sound will be rolled out — Netflix says it will be sometime "later this year."
You'll need more bandwidth to handle the higher resolution, probably exceeding the 7 to 10 Mbps required to stream the company's 720p HD content on the Roku box, TiVo, the Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Let's hope Netflix has a better compression scheme up its sleeve for this 1080p trick, supported by Microsoft Silverlight 1080p streaming introduced last March.
All that additional resolution won't mean much unless Netflix can stream more than just a measly 6% of its movies in HD, as it does now. That's lame — even Netflix's own PR flack calls it "underwhelming." Beyond that, there's the problem of bandwidth-stingy Internet service providers, many of whom also sell pay-per-view movies on cable, balking at opening up their pipes for a competitor's 1080p content.
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