Netflix and Dolby Digital sound

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by Goober96, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. Jul 5, 2011 #1 of 20
    Goober96

    Goober96 Member

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    I just signed up for the Netflix free trial and am pleased by the performance of the streaming to the Premiere, even in HD. However, I haven't found anything yet that will stream in HD and Dolby Digital sound. Dolby Digital is working fine on my Tivo with regular TV, just not with Netflix. Is this just an oversight with Netflix or is there something I can do to fix it? Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Jul 5, 2011 #2 of 20
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Most Netflix devices currently only have stereo audio and for some reason netflix uses PCM audio for stereo instead of DD. Using DD would use less bandwidth or they could use the same bandwidth and have it sound better.(The PS3 has 5.1, as well as some Panny devices and I think one or two more devices)

    There is plenty of content in HD on Netlfix. Of course nowhere near the amount of SD they have. But HD is also at 720P. Only the PS3 currently has 1080P24 content from Netflix.(No one knows how long they have exclusive use of 1080P content on Netflix)
     
  3. Jul 5, 2011 #3 of 20
    L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

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    I watched a Netflix movie with someone who has a Panasonic DMP-BDT210 Blu-ray player, and I believe it indicated that we were seeing 1080p. I assume that would be 1080p24. It certainly looked great. I don't know about 5.1 audio, since she has only stereo speakers.
     
  4. Jul 6, 2011 #4 of 20
    AnimusF6

    AnimusF6 New Member

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    To second aaronwt, Netflix does not currently stream surround sound to most devices. The Playstation 3 is one of the few devices that receives surround sound from streaming Netflix movies. Netflix is planning to change that in the future (italicized to make it seem more mysterious).
     
  5. Jul 6, 2011 #5 of 20
    lujan

    lujan Member

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    How long has Netflix been saying this?
     
  6. Jul 7, 2011 #6 of 20
    AnimusF6

    AnimusF6 New Member

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    Not TiVo-long (I've decided that I'm going to make that a thing - who's with me?), but for a few months now. My original source of information was this Engadget article which also references a second Engadget article.

    I do hope this helps!
     
  7. Jul 7, 2011 #7 of 20
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    :D
     
  8. Jul 7, 2011 #8 of 20
    Goober96

    Goober96 Member

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    Thanks for the information. I know nothing about PS3 and maybe they have a forum too, but I need a bluray player anyway so I'm thinking of trying to grab a used PS3 as cheap as possible. Does anyone here who has one know if Dolby Digital Netflix streaming works on ANY PS3 or would I have to get the latest and greatest model?
     
  9. Jul 7, 2011 #9 of 20
    mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    You believe wrong :)--I have a BDT110 and there's no indicator of stream quality that anyone's found (the 210 and 310 have built-in wireless and some physical differences, but I believe it's the same board, drive, display and firmware).

    I've measured bandwidth utilization by 6 different devices (PS3, BDT110, TiVo S3, Xbox 360, Roku XD and this PC) and I check from time to time--there's a 30%-higher-bit-rate-than-720p encoding that the PS3 and only the PS3 to date is able to access. That said, for most titles the difference is not stunning. (See this post at AVS Forum for some discussion of my bandwidth measurements).
     
  10. RangerOne

    RangerOne The Hub

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    Any PS3 model will work.

    There are a number of Netflix devices that will output Dolby Digital including:
    Apple TV
    WD Live
    Panasonic 2011 blu-ray and home theater systems

    There's some more; Mike do you have the official netflix link? I can't seem to find it anymore.
     
  11. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    I'm not aware of any page at Netflix's site which says which devices do 5.1. There's one which lists the devices which do closed captions, here. I get a sense that they don't want to say anything which makes one OEM partner's product seem superior to the others on Netflix streaming features. I've asked their "Netflixhelps" Twitter account which devices can play 1080p and they've declined to answer. (Closed captioning is a different matter--they're being sued over that issue).
     
  12. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    And lack of CC is one reason I have NOT made the jump to on-line content. It is truly frustrating and the FCC and Congress move like sloths on this issue. I know that they are experimenting with CC on-line, but it should not have taken this long. The sad truth is the OTT people NEVER considered CC EVER. It is unfortunate that it take civil action to get companies to do what they should have in place by now.
     
  13. lujan

    lujan Member

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    Netflix is yet again raising their rates so that instant streaming is no longer included in their plan but you have to pay more for it. They keep raising their rates but not improving their service. They've been saying for years now that they were going to add 5.1 DD to their streaming service and here we are still waiting. I'm going to change my plan to be only the BD mailing movies.
     
  14. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    They have added it to about 25% of their HD streams and I'm not sure that there is anything that they can do to make their hardware partners update their players to support it.
     
  15. lujan

    lujan Member

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    If 5.1 (plus DD+) works in my hardware for Vudu, why wouldn't the same hardware work for Netflix and 5.1? I have the Panasonic BDT300.
     
  16. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    I have the BDT110 and it works for me (as it does for the BDT210 and BDT310). The BDT300 has an older Viera Cast player and Panasonic has not upgraded the firmware.

    The BDT110 has become my favorite Netflix and VUDU player. There are four other things connected to this panel and AVR which can play Netflix (TiVo S3, PS3, Xbox 360 and this PC) and the PS3 can play VUDU. The BDT110 runs the same Netflix GUI as on my PS3:
    [​IMG]
    and it handles titles with both 5.1 and close captions. It draws a lot less power than the consoles, has a far better interface than TiVo and it's silent. The PS3 can play the 1080p Netflix encodes, but they're not impressively better for most things.
     
  17. lujan

    lujan Member

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    I have been buying on average about one BD player per year since it came out in 2006. Each new series year had some improvement that I cared for. I don't see a compelling reason to buy the BDTX10 series for the improved Netflix interface and 5.1 capability. I bought the BDT300 because of the 3D capability. I won't even be using the Netflix streaming capability come September because of the increase in prices.
     
  18. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    As you will. My only point is that you should blame Panasonic for not updating the firmware on your BD player and not Netflix. They have about 500 titles with 5.1 sound (many of them being multi-season television series with tens or hundreds of hours of content each). Those are just the HD ones--they say there are some SD titles with 5.1 sound but I'm not sifting through all releases to add to that list--just the HD ones is bad enough.

    There are hundreds of devices which run Netflix streaming. It's unreasonable to expect Netflix to update all of them to support streams with 5.1 sound.
     
  19. L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

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    Are you assuming that Netflix has already sent the code required to support 5.1 to Panasonic? If so, then Panasonic should release it. But surely if Netflix is to be widely supported, they must write the code and supply it in some form to the hardware manufacturers, who can then incorporate it easily into their next firmware update. If each hardware manufacturer is expected to independently write all the code to support streams from Netflix and every other vendor that could be ridiculously inefficient. I could be wrong, of course, if the code to support all the various streaming sources is essentially identical.
     
  20. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    The code can't be identical because the platforms aren't identical. Netflix has no idea how to access sound drivers to output a 5.1 bitstream on any arbitrary device, so there at least has to be a custom "hardware abstraction" layer to implement functions for a standard hardware access API.

    I know that they're trying to standardize this and have succeeded to an extent with their new Webkit/HTML5-based GUI (the one in the picture that I displayed in the post above), but there's still a need for that hardware abstraction layer. I'd be surprised if that code isn't available to any of their OEM partners who want it (and I know that Panasonic has it because they use it in their 2011 Viera Cast/Viera Link Netflix players, like my DMP-BDT110). Some of the players which use that GUI do not implement everything, so options are greyed out. An example is Boxee Box--they don't support 5.1 yet, so the option for 5.1 sound is greyed out in the title description menu. Webkit has an awfully large memory footprint and compute load for the older devices (GUI navigation is sluggish on my BDT110 but smooth on the PS3), so any device which can't support this interface is going to have to do something custom.
     

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