Detailed within a press release explaining the expanded feature, Netflix has launched support for high-quality 1080p streaming as well as expanded the content catalog to include a selection of 3D films for partners enrolled in the company’s Open Connect initiative. Called Super HD by Netflix, the ability to stream content in 1080p is limited to a consumer’s Internet Provider. By visiting the launch page, consumers will be able to immediately see if their ISP is part of the Open Connect group. In order to stream 1080p content, the software requires a minimum Internet connection speed of at least 5Mb/s. Netflix representatives recommends 7Mb/s for the highest quality version of the 1080p high definition content.
Devices that support the Super HD launch include the Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii U, Roku XD and XS, the latest version of the Apple TV and Windows 8. In addition, smart televisions and Blu-ray players with 1080p Netflix support will work with the Super HD program.
In order to locate content that’s available in the Super HD format, Netflix subscribers need to look for the Super HD logo on the movie or television content description page. There is no additional fee required to enroll in the Super HD program.
Netflix hasn’t disclosed the full list of Internet service providers that are currently enrolled in the Open Connect program, but two confirmed providers include Cablevision and Google Fiber. Regarding 3D titles, Netflix has made a variety of documentaries available to stream in 3D as well as Immortals starring Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill as well as Mickey Rourke. According to Netflix representatives, the company is going to monitor the amount of people streaming content in 3D and will make the decision to expand the volume of 3D titles later in the year. In addition, Netflix is considering making 3D titles available to international audiences.
In a related announcement this week, Netflix announced an updated release schedule of original programming rolling out during 2013. On February 1, the entire thirteen-episode season of David Fincher’s political drama House of Cards will be available on Netflix Instant.
Starring veteran actor Kevin Spacey, Netflix has already renewed the drama for a second season which is scheduled to tentatively debut during early 2014. On April 19, Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove murder mystery will debut on Netflix Instant as well.
Much to the delight of Arrested Development fans, Netflix representatives announced that the fourteen-episode season will become available on Netflix Instant during May 2013. According to show creator Mitch Hurwitz, each episode is roughly 30 minutes long and will focus on different characters. While Hurwitz recommends watching the episodes in order, Netflix subscribers can also skip around to different episodes without ruining the larger plot arc.
Other original content heading to Netflix during 2013 includes the comedy Orange is the New Black from the producer of Weeds during late Spring as well as the Ricky Gervais series Derek which is about a comedic group of losers working in a nursing home. During Fall 2013, Netflix will release the second season of Steve Van Zandt’s Lilyhammer.