Basic Quality Questions

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Basic Quality Questions

Postby stefanzman » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:45 am

Hi all,

I apologize in advance if these questions have already been answered, but some cursory searches did not deliver clear results.

We are a long time Netflix customer (circa 2001), and the RokuHD-XR is potentially on our Christmas list. Right now, we are primarily renting Bluray DVDs each week. Here are my questions:

1 - Approximately what percentage of Netflix and Amazon movies are available in HD?

2 - With a typical broadband cable connection, is it reasonable to expect the 5 mbps throughput required?

3 - The audio specs of the Roku units reference the optical output, but there is no mention of Dobly Digital (AC3) or DTS support. Why?

Thanks much for any help on this.

Stefan
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Re: Basic Quality Questions

Postby BoloMKXXVIII » Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:33 am

stefanzman wrote:Hi all,

I apologize in advance if these questions have already been answered, but some cursory searches did not deliver clear results.

We are a long time Netflix customer (circa 2001), and the RokuHD-XR is potentially on our Christmas list. Right now, we are primarily renting Bluray DVDs each week. Here are my questions:

1 - Approximately what percentage of Netflix and Amazon movies are available in HD?

2 - With a typical broadband cable connection, is it reasonable to expect the 5 mbps throughput required?

3 - The audio specs of the Roku units reference the optical output, but there is no mention of Dobly Digital (AC3) or DTS support. Why?

Thanks much for any help on this.

Stefan


Netflix/Amazon HD will not reach the quality level of BluRay. If you are looking for Netflix/Amazon HD to be comparable to BluRay you will be quite dissappointed. I suspect (but do not know for sure) that AC3 / DTS is not listed because of the amount of compression used. Some day we will all have the super fat pipes to our homes to stream bluray quality video to our homes, but it will be a long time from now. The Roku box was designed to use the typical high speed internet available today for most of America. I think they do a remarkable job concerning image and sould quality with the bandwidth constrains imposed by today's technology. I find it quite enjoyable to watch. The percentage of movies to watch in "HD" is relatively small. If you are a videophile it may not be worth it to you. If you can enjoy SD quality video you may find the Roku a great investment.
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Re: Basic Quality Questions

Postby philsoft » Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:44 am

stefanzman wrote:Hi all,

1 - Approximately what percentage of Netflix and Amazon movies are available in HD?

2 - With a typical broadband cable connection, is it reasonable to expect the 5 mbps throughput required?

3 - The audio specs of the Roku units reference the optical output, but there is no mention of Dobly Digital (AC3) or DTS support. Why?

Stefan


1. I believe that the majority of the movies on Amazon are available in HD. Netflix, hmm I don't know, maybe a thousand.

2. My best friend has a 5mbs connection through Charter and he reliably gets HD

3. Dolby Digital is supported (but I believe only Amazon delivers it at this time), I haven't heard that DTS is supported.
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Postby dnelms » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:25 am

Also, keep in mind that just because you can get a disc sent to the house, does not mean that same disc would be available for streaming. The newer releases take a decent amount of time to get to instant watch, if ever. But the Roku is great a delivering the HD content that is there assuming you have enough bandwidth coming to the box.
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Postby jeffrok » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:49 am

Stefan,

Basically, a small percentage (I dunno the exact percentage but I'd guess 10%) of Netflix's total disc library is available via streaming.. That's not to say that there's not quality titles- just don't expect new releases in SD or HD. Netflix doesn't do any Dolby Digital or DTS encoding.

Amazon has new releases but they come and go sometimes. The HD titles are for the most part encoded with Dolby Digital and it's really good quality.
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Postby stefanzman » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:14 pm

OK. BoloMKXXVIII gave the answer I was expecting. My assumption was that Bluray fans would likely be disappointed with the quality of the streaming content.

But the subsequent posts from philsoft, dnelms, and jeffrok seem to dispute this notion. Also, I had been reading other topics in the forum that appear to show many users who are impressed with the HD picture and sound quality.

So.... I remain somewhat confused and uncertain at this point.

I would love to get more opinions on this, so please chime in - assuming you have one.

In the meantime, I think it might make sense to order the box and see what is possible.
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Postby KennyJ » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:18 pm

IMO Netflix and Amazon HD are equivalent in quality to Cable (in my case, FIOS) HD. It's 720p at about 3mbps. Blu-Ray is 1080p at .. what? 20mbps? (not sure on that).

That's not Blu-ray quality -- it's highly compressed. But it looks very good and certainly better than DVD.
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Postby jeffrok » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:24 pm

stefanzman wrote:OK. BoloMKXXVIII gave the answer I was expecting. My assumption was that Bluray fans would likely be disappointed with the quality of the streaming content.

But the subsequent posts from philsoft, dnelms, and jeffrok seem to dispute this notion. Also, I had been reading other topics in the forum that appear to show many users who are impressed with the HD picture and sound quality.

So.... I remain somewhat confused and uncertain at this point.

I would love to get more opinions on this, so please chime in - assuming you have one.

In the meantime, I think it might make sense to order the box and see what is possible.


If you are spoiled by Blu-ray, I think you'll be slightly disappointed in the general quality of the Netflix and Amazon feeds.. It's not nearly as bad as comparing HD TV to standard def TV, but you will notice a difference.

However, what other streaming device out there can do Blu-ray quality streaming? I can't think of any..

Give it a try and return it if you don't like it.
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Postby BoloMKXXVIII » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:32 pm

Re-reading my answer above I sounded a bit too harsh. The quality is good, but you will not mistake it for BluRay. It is a bit less in quality than the compressed HD from Dish or DirectTV. I enjoy my Roku and it part of the reason I canceled my cable. I use DSL that is fed to the neighborhood with fiber optic lines. I always have 4 dots for quality.
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Postby stefanzman » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:41 pm

OK. Bolo - Thanks for the clarification.

Must be nice to have fiber in the neighborhood....

So, you cancelled your cable? Is there a way to get ESPN, Fox News, CNN, The History Channel, Discover, etc, through a Roku? Or are you limiting your content to movies and music at this point?
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Postby philsoft » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:45 pm

stefanzman wrote:So, you cancelled your cable? Is there a way to get ESPN, Fox News, CNN, The History Channel, Discover, etc, through a Roku? Or are you limiting your content to movies and music at this point?


There is SOME content available on Netflix from Discovery, A&E, TLC, History Channel and others. SOME news is available from Mediafly.
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Postby kc8pql » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:49 pm

There is a lot more on Roku than movies and music, and the lineup will continue to expand. Mediafly has audio and video podcasts from CNN, Fox PBS, History, Discovery....
http://www.roku.com/roku-channel-store
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Postby BoloMKXXVIII » Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:26 am

stefanzman wrote:OK. Bolo - Thanks for the clarification.

Must be nice to have fiber in the neighborhood....

So, you cancelled your cable? Is there a way to get ESPN, Fox News, CNN, The History Channel, Discover, etc, through a Roku? Or are you limiting your content to movies and music at this point?


Old seasons of Dirty Jobs and Mythbusters are available on Netflix. I also run a PC into each of my HDTVs. I use the Roku more often as it is easier. I use the computers for Hulu, Clicker and Miro. Discovery is very stingy with their content on the web, but there is more interesting content available between the Roku, OTA TV and the web than I could ever watch. You will be amazed how much content is on the web. Clicker is great as a "TV guide" for the web. Once you find a show you like you can mark it and Clicker will tell you when a new episode is available. You can do the same thing with Hulu, but Clicker covers almost everything on the web. It does not host the content, but it does link to the correct page.
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Postby mega1026 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:11 am

I cancelled my satellite and just have roku, but I am considering putting an antenna outside for OTA signals to watch some current stuff, and maybe getting a Tivo...

using Netflix on Tivo for the main room, and moving the Roku to my bedroom
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Postby robertm » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:49 am

stefanzman wrote:OK. BoloMKXXVIII gave the answer I was expecting. My assumption was that Bluray fans would likely be disappointed with the quality of the streaming content.

But the subsequent posts from philsoft, dnelms, and jeffrok seem to dispute this notion. Also, I had been reading other topics in the forum that appear to show many users who are impressed with the HD picture and sound quality.

So.... I remain somewhat confused and uncertain at this point.

I would love to get more opinions on this, so please chime in - assuming you have one.

In the meantime, I think it might make sense to order the box and see what is possible.


It depends on you really. Some people are into finding obscure details in movies. Some people appreciate camera angles and the types of shots that were made. Personally I just enjoy a good story. If the quality of the picture is part of the story like in sports or a nature show then I want the highest quality available. But if a movie is good it can be in standard def and black and white and I wouldn't care.
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