Netflix plans to add 1080p and 5.1 surround sound to it's streaming service [Updated] Buzz this

Posted by Prasada Martala Feb 8, 2010

CNET is reporting that Netflix has plans to introduce 1080p resolution with 5.1 Surround Sound to it's streaming service later this year. Netflix has been constantly expanding it's streaming service to internet connected TVs, Blu-ray disc players and gaming consoles. List of devices that support Netflix streaming include Roku player, Tivo player, XBox 360, Sony PS3, Nintendo Wii, Blu-ray players from LG, Samsung, Insignia, High Definition Televisions from LG, Sony, Vizio, LG/Samsung Blu-ray Home Theatre Systems, Windows and Mac computers.

Recently, the DVD rental company, along with Warner Bros., announced that DVDs and Blu-ray discs from the studio will not be available to customers of Netflix until 28 days after the release date. In exchange, Netflix is expected to get access to the studio's titles to add them to it's streaming service.

Currently, Netflix doesn't charge it's customers for streaming service as long as they are enrolled in their unlimited plans starting from $8.99.

In a recent interview, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he expects two-thirds of the 12.3 million subscribers to be streaming at least 15 minutes per month in the next 18 months. But he did not indicate if he plans to charge customers for the streaming service.

Introduction of 1080p resolution and 5.1 Surround Sound to it's streaming service means additional bandwidth and overhead costs to Netflix. Considering that only 10% (1.23 million) of the total 12.3 million Netflix customers subscribe to Blu-ray discs, it remains to be seem if customers would be willing to pay for a full HD streaming service, if Netflix decides to charge for the service.

Even though customers broadband internet connection speed is going to determine the quality of 1080p resolution and surround sound audio for streaming content, Netflix hopes to get more customers by offering full HD content through it's streaming service.

Update: Netflix representative clarifies that even though 5.1 surround sound and closed captions are in 2010 development roadmap, 1080p is not. So, we may not be seeing full HD coming to Netflix Watch Now streaming service in near future.

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