Netflix made a lot of friends back in 2010 when it announced that it would offer a streaming-only plan. CEO Heed Hastings boldly proclaimed, “We are now primarily a streaming video company delivering a wide selection of TV shows and films over the Internet.”
With this move toward streaming, a ton of Netflix customers have been complaining about the quality of streaming video. Netflix streaming quality can be impacted by two key things: 1) The speed of the customer’s connection and 2) the device’s RAM and power that is running the movies. Usually in the US most homes don’t have a broadband connection–they simply have cable or DSL. Nearly no homes in the US (at least for normal people) have a T1 line. This frequently creates a less than ideal viewing scenario for customers hoping to stream Netflix without quality problems.
Here are the common video display resolutions that Netflix runs on:
480i: This is the quality you’ll get on a device like a Wii, and it also the same quality as broadcast TV and very similar to VHS.
720p: Apple TV will only give you 720p quality for Netflix.
1080p: This is the Blu-ray standard high quality image that you’ll want–it is probably too high quality to work with your internet connection though.