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Netflix Streaming Does 5.1 Surround Sound with Dolby Digital Plus on PS3!

by October 14, 2010
Netflix Streaming Does 5.1 Surround Sound with Dolby Digital Plus

Netflix Streaming Does 5.1 Surround Sound with Dolby Digital Plus

We've been waiting for this news and we're happy to finally report that Netflix is working with Dolby Digital to finally bring 5.1 digital audio to its movie and television streaming content - as early as the 18th of October! Just today, Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: DLB) announced that the companies will use Dolby Digital Plus to deliver 5.1-channel surround sound for TV shows and movies streamed instantly over the Internet. Beginning October 18, the PlayStation 3 (PS3) computer entertainment system from Sony will be the first consumer electronics device to support 5.1-channel surround sound on movies streamed from Netflix. I guess I may have to dust off my Netflix DVD for the PS3! Netflix said more devices would be added over time to support streaming digital surround sound. We'd have to assume that the Xbox 360 will be next, followed by any existing hardware that can support a firmware or software upgrade to affect the required changes (Roku, Blu-ray players, etc). Hopefully, the most recent models of BD players on the market with Netflix will be able to upgrade and transmit streaming content n 5.1. The other interesting notion is whether or not content will be able to support 7.1 in the future, assuming more titles are encoding with that support. For now, 5.1 seems to be the released format - and a smart move considering 1) most users only support 5.1 at best, and 2) 7.1 can be achieved very well from software DSP like Dolby Prologic IIx.

"Netflix is committed to delivering an unparalleled experience to its members who watch TV shows and movies streamed instantly over the Internet. Netflix required an audio solution that could efficiently deliver an outstanding surround sound experience for a wide range of consumer devices.  Dolby Digital Plus proved to be the best solution to meet our needs and the needs of our device partners."

- Greg Peters, Netflix vice president of product development

"Dolby Digital Plus makes the online entertainment experience rich, realistic, and memorable. Dolby is excited to be working with Netflix and its partners to provide premium Dolby surround sound to Netflix subscribers.  This collaboration will enable subscribers to enjoy movies and TV shows presented in surround sound just as the artists and directors intended."

- John Couling, VP, marketing, products & platforms, Dolby Labs

Dolby Digital Plus supports up to 7.1 channels of premium-quality surround sound and allows consumers to enjoy high-definition audio from broadcasts, streaming and downloaded media, and Blu-ray Disc.  To date, tens of millions of TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray Disc players, Audio/Video receivers, and mobile phones have shipped with Dolby Digital Plus.

Dolby Digital Plus is a sophisticated audio system based on Dolby Digital that has been adopted by many of the world's leading broadcasters, TV and set-top-box manufacturers, and device makers to provide consumers with full digital surround sound.  It is designed to adapt to the changing demands of entertainment delivery while retaining compatibility with existing Dolby Digital 5.1-channel home theater systems.

For more information, visit www.netflix.com.

About Netflix, Inc.
With more than 15 million members in the United States and Canada, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is the world's leading Internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV shows.  For $8.99 a month, Netflix members in the U.S. can instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes streaming right to their TVs and computers and can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes.  In Canada, streaming unlimited movies and TV shows from Netflix is available for $7.99 a month.  There are never any due dates or late fees with Netflix.  Among the large and expanding base of supported devices streaming from Netflix are the Microsoft® Xbox 360®, Nintendo® Wii™, and Sony Computer Entertainment's PS3 consoles; Blu-ray Disc players from the Best Buy(SM) Insignia brand, LG®, and Samsung; Internet TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio®; the Roku® digital video player and TiVo(SM) digital video recorders; and the Apple® iPhone®, iPad™, and iPod® touch.  All of these devices are available for purchase in the United States.  A growing number of supported devices are available for purchase in Canada.

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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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MidnightSensi2 posts on December 15, 2013 10:03
j_garcia, post: 1003779
Not exactly “downloaded” but it is heavily buffered because the PS3 has always offered some of the best streaming performance for me. The PS3 doesn't have much RAM and it still buffers better than my PCs.

That is likely from their application layer. The web your also processing Silverlight.


j_garcia, post: 1003779
The bandwidth excuse is completely a cop out. ISPs are offering speeds that are already fast enough to deliver near BD quality. Audio is another story; they could probably do it, but with HD video and HD audio, that might be pushing it. The fastest ISP's speeds I'm sure already are capable of supporting it but no services are doing it. So to say that the bandwidth isn't there is more of an excuse to fence sit than to do something.

Is that their excuse? The bandwidth is there - for most. But, there are also other obstacles beyond that and using cloud infrastructure can have fluctuations in performance. Amazon's cloud isn't exactly awesome anyways, heh, but it is cheaper (significantly).

Audio shouldn't be an issue from a bandwidth perspective, compared to video.
j_garcia posts on December 13, 2013 12:12
Not exactly “downloaded” but it is heavily buffered because the PS3 has always offered some of the best streaming performance for me. The PS3 doesn't have much RAM and it still buffers better than my PCs.

The bandwidth excuse is completely a cop out. ISPs are offering speeds that are already fast enough to deliver near BD quality. Audio is another story; they could probably do it, but with HD video and HD audio, that might be pushing it. The fastest ISP's speeds I'm sure already are capable of supporting it but no services are doing it. So to say that the bandwidth isn't there is more of an excuse to fence sit than to do something.
MidnightSensi2 posts on December 13, 2013 11:04
AVisualGeek, post: 1003609
I can't find it in me to stream movies yet. Until the bandwidth is just a tad better and they also stream 7.1+ format options as well, I prefer BluRay all the way. The image is much nicer. Don't get me wrong though…I have Netflix and the quality is great….it's just that BluRay still stomps all over it imo.

Well, off a Playstation I think it's downloaded to a local temp directory rather than directly streamed, correct?
AVisualGeek posts on December 12, 2013 14:00
I can't find it in me to stream movies yet. Until the bandwidth is just a tad better and they also stream 7.1+ format options as well, I prefer BluRay all the way. The image is much nicer. Don't get me wrong though…I have Netflix and the quality is great….it's just that BluRay still stomps all over it imo.
MidnightSensi2 posts on December 10, 2013 08:26
j_garcia, post: 1002952
I actually don't think they spend that much on infrastructure. I am almost certain that Amazon Prime is actually provided by Netflix in a sort of collaborative effort. I didn't know Amazon provided the backbone, but that came to light quite clearly last holiday season when Netflix went down and they said it was the Amazon infrastructure that had the issue. I'd say there's a little handshaking going on there where the media is exchanged for the infrastructure and vice versa. When 3D and superHD were released, there was an article that said Netflix tried to force that sort of deal onto major ISPs also. Obviously not all of them went for it

They spend likely more up front, but less on the back end. Using these CDNs means less servers, load balancers, switches, etc. that they have to maintain. So, less total cost

…and to your point, very possibly they have a deal with Amazon for cloud services:
AWS | Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) – Scalable Cloud Servers

They might share actual instances of the movies, but, they're still using very different application layers. And Netflix is edge cacheing on other CDNs.


Reading the avs thread posted..

There were some people saying they wished that Netflix would answer their questions about performance inconsistency. Their cloud/virtualized infrastructure schema is likely the answer, which, by it's design schema, is going to have varied performance (on their end, not just yours!). But, how do they explain that to customers? Not sure.

The only cost effective way to implement this sort of service is through virtualized/cloud infrastructure, so, they've designed their application layer to deal with the varied performance of both the users connection and THEIR system performance. Even actively while you watch! But, also in their initial stream, which wasn't as noticeable until they added 5.1 and other features that people are able to tell if they are there or not (seems like they roll back older titles when necessary, going off descriptions of problems avs users were talking about).

..
The cool thing about these blade setups is how you can support a small load, then then be able to scale for peaks without having to own a bunch of hardware. Without this technology, I don't think something like Netflix would be so available… or be able to give, what many of us have experienced, as damn impressive performance for something we're pulling off the internet!!!
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