Netflix is bumping up the quality of many of its instant streaming titles to what it calls Super HD, but you won't be able to enjoy it unless you are with a certain U.S. Internet service providers.
Super HD is basically Netflix's branding for 1080p full HD content. It requires at least 5Mbps download speeds, or 7Mbps for the highest available video quality. It works with Netflix on PlayStation 3, Nintendo's Wii U, Windows 8, Roku, Apple TVs with 1080p, and certain smart TVs and Blu-Ray players.
The big caveat with Netflix Super HD is that in the U.S., you will only be able to enjoy full HD streaming if you are with Cablevision, Google Fiber or another provider that is part of Netflix Open Connect, a content delivery network meant to improve video streaming from the service. There are more ISPs on Open Connect but Netflix refuses to disclose the full list. U.S. consumers can use Netflix.com/superhd to see if their ISP is directly connected to Netflix.
Outside the U.S., Netflix Super HD will also be available in the U.K. from most major providers, including Virgin Media and British Telecom, and globally from the likes of Telmex, Telus, TDC and GVT, totaling more than 25 million streaming subscribers.
In addition to Super HD, Netflix is experimenting with 3D video in the U.S. If you can get Super HD, you will also be able to watch a small number of 3D titles including the action fantasy drama "Immortals," Red Bull Media House's snowboarding documentary "The Art of Flight," and several titles from 3net Studios, a joint venture between Discovery, Sony and IMAX. If enough people make use of 3D streaming, Netflix said it would consider adding more titles and expanding availability internationally.
Ken Florance, vice president of content delivery at Netflix, explained: "These new Super HD and 3D formats are more challenging to deliver than our other video streams, which is why we will deliver them through Open Connect. Any ISP that wants to be able to deliver our new formats can do so easily and for free."