Blu-ray
Netflix HD Streaming Comes to PCs, Macs
No official word from Netflix, but "HD" tag appears on select titles and reviews are good.
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May 18, 2010 by Julie Jacobson

There were rumors this week and last about HD Netflix streaming coming to PCs and Macs, but no one could find the content and Netflix wasn’t talking.

Today, it is here.

Netflix must be testing its servers because there still is no official announcement about the new capabilities. Viewers have reported watching a title in HD, only to have the movie disappear from the HD roster thereafter.

Joelkirzner has the most recent post on the Microsoft-owned Media Center forum, thegreenbutton.com:

HD CONFIRMED… FINALLY!

I just logged into my account tonight and I’m finally seeing the HD genre as well as the “HD” to the right of the movie player bar. Streaming at 3800kbps, like other folks are reporting. I’m on comcast in atlanta and my speeds are usually pretty stellar.

You will notice that the “HD” will be greyed out for around 10-20 seconds when you first start a movie. If you mouse over it, it will say, “buffering”; afterwards, the letters will turn white and will say “playing HD” when moused over.

I don’t see any HD genre or the “HD Available” next to the word streaming within the Windows Media Center interface, but the movies are streaming in HD. I wonder if they’re going to update the WMC plugin.

Anywhoo, it’s about time HD was enabled. Mazel Tov Netflix.

Sure enough, when you go to the Watch Instantly tab on the Netflix menu and browse genres, “HD” appears right between “Gay & Lesbi@n” and “Horror.”

To date, Vudu has owned the market for high-def streaming, but this latest feature from Netflix puts it into contention, given the number of PCs and Macs in the marketplace.

Vudu still has the upper hand in terms of the number of HD titles offered and the quality of HD Streaming - the new HDX format streams 1080p/24 almost instantly. Then again, you can watch all of the limited HD titles on Netflix for as little as $8.99 per month. Vudu HD movies cost around $6 each, and you only have 24 hours to watch.

Plus, there are a heck of a lot more Netflix-enabled streaming devices - namely PCs and Macs - than thre are Vudu streamers.

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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