Netflix will deliver titles available in its higher-quality “Super HD” video to all members, instead of only those whose broadband providers are part of its content-delivery network
Recent development says. “Based on the performance data we’ve seen,and in response to member requests, we are now expanding availability to give all our members the ability to enjoy Netflix in the best possible quality,” Netflix director of corporate communications Joris Evers wrote in a blog post Thursday.
We initially rolled out Super HD in January only through ISPs with a direct connection to Netflix. Based on the performance data we’ve seen, and in response to member requests, we are now expanding availability to give all our members the ability to enjoy Netflix in the best possible quality.
Netflix uses “adaptive streaming” to dynamically adjust the video quality based on the available bandwidth. This means that the ability to receive Super HD depends on broadband quality and performance. Netflix members who subscribe to an ISP with a direct Netflix connection will get the best experience. Find out more about ISP performance by consulting the Netflix ISP Speed Index.
We continue to encourage ISPs to adopt Netflix Open Connect, our highly optimized video content delivery network. Open Connect is available at no cost to ISPs and is designed to deliver the best possible Netflix experience by storing the TV shows and movies Netflix members want to watch as close to them as possible.
Netflix customers account for up to a third of Internet traffic at peak hours in the U.S., Netflix's vice president of Content Delivery, Ken Florance, explains in a video (which you can also watch below). Open Connect is supposed to ease the burden on the Internet.
But not every ISP has joined Open Connect. Which means that not every Netflix customer will be able to use Super HD all of the time. Customers of Time Warner Cable, for example, might have to watch slightly grainier video, and they may experience sluggish Internet speeds when Netflix viewing is high, VentureBeat points out.
Netflix said the CDN program, under which its caching servers are co-located with Internet service providers, is available no cost to ISPs and is designed to deliver the best possible video.
In its post, Netflix says, "the ability to receive Super HD depends on broadband quality and performance."
Netflix will continue “to encourage ISPs to adopt Netflix Open Connect,” Evers added. In the U.S., ISPs that have signed on for Open Connect include Cablevision Systems and Google Fiber.
The Super HD titles are available on only certain devices: Sony PlayStation 3; Apple TV with 1080p; Roku with 1080p; Nintendo Wii U; Windows 8; TiVo Premiere DVRs; and Blu-ray players, connected TVs and other streaming players with existing Netflix 1080p support.
While this puts all Netflix customers on an equal footing for now, Netflix has been talking about the world of 4K video. Future upgrades could follow the same path, with the streaming service unveiling them first on Open Connect networks and then rolling them out to everyone after a few months of real-world testing (or negotiations with ISPs).