Consumers using ISPs that aren’t in Netflix’s (NASDAQ:NFLX) OpenConnect program have, to date, been shut of out getting Netflix’s best video quality, dubbed "SuperHD." But starting today, Netflix announced that all consumers can now get SuperHD quality, on limited devices, even if their ISP doesn’t participate in Netflix’s OpenConnect initiative. Netflix only has a limited amount of content available in SuperHD and not all devices support it, but for the ones that do, SuperHD content will now be streamed at double the quality before.
Previously, Netflix highest quality video, available to those with ISPs not in the OpenConnect program, was encoded at 3850Kbps. With SuperHD, video is encoded at 4300Kbps and 5800Kbps and adding the audio bitrate brings SuperHD encodes to about 4.5Mbps and 6.0Mbps. Netflix is essentially doubling the quality of their video, for a limited amount of their content. Currently any 1080p version of Apple TV and Roku supports SuperHD as well as the PS3, Nintendo Wii U, TiVo Premiere and Windows 8 app. Note that SuperHD is not available via computer browsers and can only be seen on the PC for those that use the Windows 8 app.
This is great for consumers and maybe it will also stop some ISPs, like Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), from complaining that Netflix was holding SuperHD content “hostage” from their network. Back in January TWC said Netflix was, "seeking unprecedented preferential treatment from ISPs," when at the time, Netflix simply wanted to make sure that ISPs could handle delivering the increased level of video quality on their network.
While Netflix’s website says that SuperHD streams are available up to 7Mbps, Netflix says the site will be updated to reflect a max bitrate of 6Mbps. Netflix won’t say how many titles are available in SuperHD quality, but more than half the titles they have now are already available in regular HD. If you have one of the supported devices fire it up and check out the SuperHD quality, it’s really, really nice on a large screen.