Recreation

Netflix Streaming via NXE

Setup:

15Mbit download (tests to 11Mbit at http://speedtest.net) via FTTH connection.

46″ 1080P Sony Bravia (not XBR, year-old model)

So, I’ve signed up for the free netflix trial to test out streaming to the 360. Frankly, after renting titles from the video marketplace the netflix version looks horrible in comparison. In subjective terms it looks to be about the same quality as youtube.  If you’re familiar with the netflix instant play option via PC, it looks about the same. In playing, it’s quicker than the xbox video marketplace as it doesn’t have to buffer as much. I suspect that on a standard definition television it would be quite sufficient and look similar to VHS.  It gave me ‘two bars’ on video quality testing. I recently requested an upgrade to 30Mbit down (they offer up to 60Mbit but it’s $100/mo), so hopefully that will go through soon and I can update you on whether that improves things, though I doubt the majority of people have such speeds available in the US.

UPDATE (12/05/08): Ok, so there are a few select titles that they currently offer in HD, which buffers quickly and looks great in comparison to the above. It’s not very straightforward on the netflix page which titles can stream in HD, but basically it seems that you have to go to the ‘blu-ray’ genre and look for the disks that offer ‘play it now’. I guess that would seem to make sense, but I don’t imagine they get their HD streaming content off of the Blu-Ray disc itself so I’m not sure why they’re coupled. For example, they could just as easily offer a link to the HD streaming from the DVD version of the title, or offer a section where you can browse just movies that can stream in HD.  If the plain streaming weren’t so unwatchable I wouldn’t car as much, but at this point the only streaming worth watching are the HD titles offered through Netflix and the titles offered through XBOX Live marketplace.  I believe they’re just getting the hang of this and just came out of beta, so I look forward to improvements in this regard.

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