Detailed recently on the official Netflix blog, the streaming video company is pushing out high quality, 1080p high definition content streams to all Netflix Instant subscribers rather than continuing to limit access to ISPs that adopted the Netflix Open Connect platform. Prior to this point, ISPs were required to allow Netflix to store movies and television shows on local servers in order to get access to the highest quality streams for the ISP’s customers. Netflix is continuing to promote the Open Connect service in order to reduce access times for subscribers, but the company seems to be comfortable with delivering the 1080p steams to customers outside of the Open Connect ISPs at this point.
While Netflix subscribers need a minimum of 5Mb/s to stream high definition content smoothly, Netflix recommends 7Mb/s for the Super HD content. Recently, Netflix representatives also mentioned that streaming 4K content will require a minimum of 15 Mbps. Along with the Super HD content, a small collection of 3D titles will be made available to all users as well.
However, be aware that you will need up to 12 Mbps of bandwidth to access 3D streaming content without major issues. To identify Super HD or 3D content, look for the identifying logos on the content description page. The majority of Netflix’s original programming, like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black, can be found in Super HD.
In order to access the Super HD streams of movies and television shows, Netflix Instant subscribers will need compatible hardware. The list of compatible hardware includes the Sony PlayStation 3, 3rd generation Apple TV, Roku set-top boxes capable of 1080p streaming, the Nintendo Wii U, TiVo Premiere DVR, devices utilizing Windows 8 as well as any existing Blu-ray player, smart television or set-top box with 1080p support. Interestingly, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 have been left off the list of supported hardware, but it’s highly likely that the Xbox One hardware will be able to support Super HD streams as well as 4K streams in the future.