Roku Netflix Player Now Does HD

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
Roku today announced that it has released support for streaming high definition (HD) content from its Netflix Player. Through the use of advanced compression technology, Roku can deliver instant streaming of HD content over average consumer broadband connections - bringing HD to the mass market at an affordable price of just $99 - and no monthly charges for those already signed up for one of Netflix' unlimited rental plans ($8.99/month or higher).


Discuss "Roku Netflix Player Now Does HD" here. Read the article.
 
E

EJ1

Audioholic Chief
Can anyone comment on the PQ of the steaming HD conent? Hopefully, it's not any worse than HD programming. Would the track be DD as well?
 
davidtwotrees

davidtwotrees

Audioholic General
The PQ on my netflix streamed through the samsung 2550 bluray is low due to lack of bandwith. Will the hd be available through my player as well? Please to define, HD?
 
aberkowitz

aberkowitz

Audioholic Field Marshall
How about AQ? One of the biggest reasons for me to watch Blu Ray is for uncompressed audio. This pretty much defeats the purpose of HD audio...
 
W

westcott

Audioholic General
How about AQ? One of the biggest reasons for me to watch Blu Ray is for uncompressed audio. This pretty much defeats the purpose of HD audio...
Good question.

Does HD video also mean 5.1 Dolby Digital?

Also, can I just slide in a USB wireless card or do I need to find another solution to download to the Roku via my cable internet service? (a direct connection is not an option)

Thanks for the update.
 
G

gus6464

Audioholic Samurai
Good question.

Does HD video also mean 5.1 Dolby Digital?

Also, can I just slide in a USB wireless card or do I need to find another solution to download to the Roku via my cable internet service? (a direct connection is not an option)

Thanks for the update.
All Roku netflix boxes have built in wireless as well as wired. I have mine connected via wireless and I still get max bars in streaming quality. I am about to try to the HD content though. I have my box hooked up to my TV via component and sound is hooked up via toslink to receiver.
 
birdonthebeach

birdonthebeach

Full Audioholic
Clint - have you tried it out yet? How does it look/sound?
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
So far it looks pretty decent for near real-time. I got the highest quality through a tethered Ethernet connection and watched a scene from Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (not much of a selection as you can see). I can see some image degradation, but it's nothing like the huge macroblocking I see in my cable's HD signal, so all-in-all it's pretty darn good.

I'm not sure exactly what resolution it's broadcasting in since the Samsung always outputs 1080p (or whatever resolution you set it to.) My guess is 720p, though I'm sure it's documented somewhere...
 
W

westcott

Audioholic General
So far it looks pretty decent for near real-time. so all-in-all it's pretty darn good.
I gave up on cable a long time ago, although satellite signal quality varies from station to station too. TNT HD being the worst via satellite. It would be interesting to see a side by side comparison of cable vs. satellite signals for HD in a future article.

For US$100, it seems like a no brainer to try Roku\NetFlix Player.

Clint, you mentioned near real time viewing. Can you store movies ahead of time (overnight) to watch at your leisure?

Happy Holidays!!!!

P.S. I went to the website and it appears you can save movies. It also supports 5.1 Surround Sound although it does not specifically spell out Dolby Digital. Can anyone confirm the latter?
 
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aberkowitz

aberkowitz

Audioholic Field Marshall
Well- I took the plunge!! Not for the HD, but more to have in the bedroom so we can download episodes of tv shows that we want to watch. I'll let you know how it looks.
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
Clint, you mentioned near real time viewing. Can you store movies ahead of time (overnight) to watch at your leisure?
No 5.1 yet that I've seen. Storing movies, as you've seen, isn't required provided they are in your queue. They are all available for watching without having to download the whole thing. So far caching seems to be around 1 minute.
 
J

joabraun

Enthusiast
No 5.1 yet that I've seen. Storing movies, as you've seen, isn't required provided they are in your queue. They are all available for watching without having to download the whole thing. So far caching seems to be around 1 minute.
Have they stated minimum bandwidth required for HD? If they are doing this with a new compression scheme I don't see how it is possible without some loss. I guess one has to define what is HD.

I currently get approx 5Mbs download speeds and with my Roku the PQ is not bad a bit lower than DVD imo. BTW I have had it for 2 weeks now and it is worth every penny, a killer app.
 
P

project86

Audioholic
I'm also very interested in hearing opinions on the quality of the HD content. I'm a netflix user, but have held off on the Roku box because I don't think the PQ would be very good on my 50" plasma. If this increases things enough, and the library grows, then I'm in.
 
davidtwotrees

davidtwotrees

Audioholic General
I've just watched a few more movies on netflix via my samsung blu ray player. The PQ has improved pretty dramatically, I noticed. I believe netflix did some firmware updates, or tweaked the process. It was fine.........but I'm not a videoaholic, then, either.....I just turned off my non hd cable and have went to ota stations in hd where the pq is excellent off a rooftop antenna.
 
aberkowitz

aberkowitz

Audioholic Field Marshall
I'm also very interested in hearing opinions on the quality of the HD content. I'm a netflix user, but have held off on the Roku box because I don't think the PQ would be very good on my 50" plasma. If this increases things enough, and the library grows, then I'm in.
My general opinion is that the Roku is a piece of equipment that's more about convenience than PQ or AQ... at least for the foreseeable future. I'll let you know when I receive mine and plug it in this week, but my expectations are for 75-90% DVD quality on SD material (depending on bandwidth connection) and to avoid all HD content for the time being- if it's even available yet. I'm going to leave the HD content to the cable box (ugh) and the PS3 :D:D.
 
ratso

ratso

Full Audioholic
i am pretty happy with the HD quality, pan's labyrinth looks pretty good (not blu-ray good, but good for 720p). i would like to let all roku owners to know that not all players have the new firmware available yet - as of today (the 28th) mine didn't. however a trick i learned on the forum seems to force the box to download the new firmware, it worked for me and is easy. go to the settings screen, and then to player info. if your firmware is NOT version 1.5, then go to "check for update". if it tells you that you have the most recent update, immediately go to check for update again, and keep repeating this (usually it takes 3 tries) and your box should download the update and reset. my box had a hard time reconnecting to my wireless network at first, but it eventually did. you will now notice a new home screen - you're not done yet! go to the 'what's new' box and select the option to update your display type to HD. now you will have 720p. Oh, that is IF YOU CAN FIND THEM! for some stupid reason, netflix has them hidden. on the Netflix 'watch instantly' page, drop down the 'genres' tab, and go to HD. there they are, all 100 or so of them :D.
 
aberkowitz

aberkowitz

Audioholic Field Marshall
i am pretty happy with the HD quality, pan's labyrinth looks pretty good (not blu-ray good, but good for 720p). i would like to let all roku owners to know that not all players have the new firmware available yet - as of today (the 28th) mine didn't. however a trick i learned on the forum seems to force the box to download the new firmware, it worked for me and is easy. go to the settings screen, and then to player info. if your firmware is NOT version 1.5, then go to "check for update". if it tells you that you have the most recent update, immediately go to check for update again, and keep repeating this (usually it takes 3 tries) and your box should download the update and reset. my box had a hard time reconnecting to my wireless network at first, but it eventually did. you will now notice a new home screen - you're not done yet! go to the 'what's new' box and select the option to update your display type to HD. now you will have 720p. Oh, that is IF YOU CAN FIND THEM! for some stupid reason, netflix has them hidden. on the Netflix 'watch instantly' page, drop down the 'genres' tab, and go to HD. there they are, all 100 or so of them :D.
Thanks for the FYI Ratso.

Btw- on the netflix website there is no "HD" genre for "watch instantly." Is it only possible to see through the Roku unit?
 
J

joabraun

Enthusiast
immediately go to check for update again, and keep repeating this (usually it takes 3 tries) and your box should download the update and reset.
Tried this last night thanks for the tip. The PQ is good to very good on my 50" plasma, but then again I haven't watched any HD content yet.

If content is available in HD then of course I am going to chose that whether it be BD or NetFlix but I don't obsess over PQ, too many good films and shows to limit myself to only watching those with the best PQ. Now back to season 1 of Star Trek the original series :) The PQ is better now then when I used to watch this show on my old CRT and if it wasn't on Netflix/Roku then I probably would never have rented it.
 
Pyrrho

Pyrrho

Audioholic Ninja
So far it looks pretty decent for near real-time. I got the highest quality through a tethered Ethernet connection and watched a scene from Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (not much of a selection as you can see). I can see some image degradation, but it's nothing like the huge macroblocking I see in my cable's HD signal, so all-in-all it's pretty darn good.

I'm not sure exactly what resolution it's broadcasting in since the Samsung always outputs 1080p (or whatever resolution you set it to.) My guess is 720p, though I'm sure it's documented somewhere...
It is 720p. I use the Roku box, and that is what it now outputs, according to my TV. The only other settings in the Roku box are for standard definition.

Everything seems to look a little better now that they have upgraded their software. It still isn't as good as it could be, but it is certainly a step in the right direction, and am therefore hopeful about the future. I hope they add DD 5.1 soon.
 
L

Livin

Audioholic Intern
how does the quality compare to say Dishnetwork HD like Discovery Channel or PPV?
 
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