Blog Post

Everything You Need to Know About Netflix Streaming

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Liz wrote about how impressed we were with Reed Hastings’ all-in approach when it comes to getting Netflix content directly to your TV. Now the company has provided a glimpse at what’s under the hood when it comes to making all that sweet streaming possible.

In an exhaustive post over at the Netflix blog, chief product officer Neil Hunt goes deep in explaining its choice of encoders for streaming. I plucked the bit about HD streaming from it, but you should read the whole thing to learn more about Silverlight, stereo and sources:

High Definition Encodes

Today we have rights to deliver about 400 streams in HD (720p). More titles will be added over time. We experimented with first-generation WMV3 encodes at 4000kbps and 5500kbps, but settled on second-generation HD encodes with VC1AP at 2600kbps and 3800kbps, which extends their accessibility down to lower home broadband connections. As with SD, encodes of film material are at 24fps, and encodes of shot-to-video material are at 30fps (or 25fps for PAL), rather than the 60fps that would come from a Blu-ray disc – we judged the 60fps content as too expensive of bandwidth for now. In general, these encodes are definitively better than SD, but won’t challenge well-executed Blu-ray encodes – that would require a bitrate out of reach for most domestic broadband today. We believe Moore’s law will drive home broadband higher and higher enabling full 1080p60 encodes in a few years.