480p Netflix on a fibre connection
My Humax Freesat DVR finally got a Netflix app this week, so I signed up for a free month to the HD package (and immediately cancelled to avoid auto-payment when the free month is up, but you still get to use your free month). I couldn't understand why the picture wasn't sharp on my wired 40 Mbps fibre connection and 1080p plasma though.
It turns out Netflix defaults to "Auto" playing mode and the info button on the remote confirmed it was only playing HD content at 480p despite my decent setup. I had to go onto the Netflix Web site and flick the playing mode to "High" - as soon as I did that, the HD movie I was playing flicked from 480p to 1080p mid-stream, with no buffering or pixellation and a much sharper picture. In other words, Auto mode is terrible at estimating your bandwidth and I wonder how many HD subscribers have been playing back at 480p because of the crappy Auto mode?
Talking of HD, if the vast majority of Netflix content is available in HD and it's likely the vast majority of Netflix potential or paid-up subscribers have HD TVs, then why do Netflix charge an extra 1.50 per month for HD? Netflix will claim it's for the bandwidth usage (they muddy this by offering 2 simultaneous devices in the HD package), but the Auto default playing mode selecting 480p (at least for me) sounds like a convenient bug/feature to save using bandwidth on HD accounts to me....