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As streaming continues to grow and mature as a format, it will likely start to give physical media a real run for its money. The latest evidence of this comes from CNET, which is reporting that at an unspecified time later this year, Netflix will be adding 5.1 surround sound and closed captioning to its streaming service.

Netflix was also rumored to be adding 1080p streaming this year, but it now appears that full HD will not be coming as quickly as the other upgrades. However, given the fact that Netflix uses Microsoft’s Silverlight technology in its streaming service and Silverlight supports 1080p smooth streaming, full HD can’t be too far off for Netflix streaming.

What do you say, Insiders? Would the promise of surround sound and (eventually) 1080p video get you firmly into the streaming camp? As such features appear on the horizon, how far away is the decline/demise of physical media?

(via CNET)

5 Responses to “Surround Sound, Closed Captioning Coming to Netflix Streaming”

  1. Member [Join Now]
    MovieWatcherSupreme [moviewatchersupreme]

    Wow, this is sort of impressive, yet makes me worry about many things,
    let me explain. When it comes to closed captioning, well I am disappointed they haven’t had that already, that alone is not all that impressive. “Hulu” for example has been supporting closed captions since they were created. Surround Sound, cool! Bet this is very problematic. For people streaming to laptops, you would need a compatible sound card and most laptops on the market do not have an inboard sound card that can do this. I am not saying that none do, but most do not. 1080p smooth streaming? Ouch, it is barely within limits that they can claim this. Let’s keep in mind that true Blu-Ray quality 1080p video REQUIRES at least 80 MB per second, that is MegaBytes. If we do the math, that is at least 10Mb per second, that is Megabits. Now I am aware that Netflix can feel free to compress the hell out of the video in order to stream to lower bandwidth’s, but there is a limit to this. Personally I currently can’t afford the faster internet. I am cruisin’ at 768Mbp/s, yeah I know it is terrible, it is all I can afford. But I am not alone. I don’t know the exact statistics but I do know that it is likely most Netflix members do not have an internet connection of this speed. This is going to cause a great deal of problems. People are going to hate about experiencing what I have to do all the time, Buffer Time! Ugh! The Decline of Physical Media? I think I just described why physical media is still strong, because everyone doesn’t have a great internet connection speed. Yeah sure one day 10Mbps will go down in price and more people will get it, but don’t even get me started on minimum system requirements. Again they can compress it, but they shouldn’t call it 1080P. Yeah I know that is the resolution, but there are two things, resolution, and data-rate (a.k.a. Bit rate, or Bandwidth, it goes by many names depending on the format)
    Now all of this aside, If I could afford Road Runner standard and I had an HDTV, I would still NOT consider Netflix for my movie fix. Not that I do not like streaming, on the contrary, I love it! I catch my shows on Hulu all the time. But I can do that for free. Being that RedBox offers Blu-Ray, I would just go for that. In addition, many if not all rental stores and all retail stores sell Blu-Ray disk’s. You know what I am saying? It just doesn’t seem that good for me. Now I do not speak for everybody, but even with these new developments, I still would not consider Netflix.
    Sorry Netflix, you don’t got me yet.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      rb [visitor]

      I don’t know if we should ever ‘let you explain’ again MovieWatcher… When you explain, you reallllllllllllllly explain! You must live in the eastern states and be snowed in with the rest of us looking to pass the time… Hulu is not a bad idea..I caught up on some old Alfred Hitchcock…Liked the Hitchcock tv story The Jar…. Didn’t really care what bandwidth or speed it was coming to me though :-)

      • Member [Join Now]
        MovieWatcherSupreme [moviewatchersupreme]

        If you don’t want to read it then don’t. You don’t need to go loco man!
        And yeah I am totally snowed in.
        It sucks.
        But yeah believe it or not some people find my stuff helpful.
        Yeah you are right though, Hulu works with many bandwidths since for the most part it is low res unless you choose otherwise.

  2. Member [Join Now]
    lakrow [jbromert]

    I have hearing problems, so the streaming feature on Netflix has been completely useless for me. Like the majority of movie theaters, most online streaming content doesn’t have any way for the deaf or hard of hearing to enjoy it. I was amazed when I found out Hulu actually had captions. I’m glad Netflix is finally going to add captions too – maybe it’ll even help other services decide to quit ignoring the deaf community. There’s so much content out there (entertainment and educational) that I can’t watch – well, I can WATCH it, but I’d have to guess what’s being said.

    • Member [Join Now]
      MovieWatcherSupreme [moviewatchersupreme]

      Exactly man,
      I am glad they are offering captions now, but you are right. Many places and organizations tend to ignore the deaf community.