Netflix Teases Console Owners with 1080p Streaming Announcement, then Pulls the Rug

Paul_Lilly

Hey, did you hear? Netflix plans to bring 1080p streaming and 5.1 surround sound to its streaming HD video service to later this year. Pretty rad, right?

It would be, except Netflix is taking a mulligan on the recent announcement, and now says that it incorrectly acknowledged 1080p streaming in the company's 2010 roadmap. Boo, hiss! Netflix didn't say why it pulled the about-face, though it probably has to do with bandwidth. While not official, Netflix says the requirement to stream 720p HD content on an HD-compatible box is "typically" 5Mbps. It's a safe bet that 1080p would require more, and maybe Netflix feels there aren't enough streaming subscribers with fast enough broadband speeds.

That means for the foreseeable future, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 owners are stuck with "underwhelming" 720p. That's right, in somewhat related news, Steve Swasey, VP of Corporate Communications for Netflix, downplayed the streaming service when discussing what Wii owners are missing.

"PS3 and Xbox users have 1 in 17 titles available in HD, and it's streamed in 720... it's not in 1080, and it's not in 5.1 surround sound or anything," Swasey said during an interview with The Wire. "So the HD experience at Netflix Instant Watching isn't that overwhelming. It's a little bit underwhelming. So the Wii folks aren't going to miss that much."

What a sales pitch!

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