Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) customers with top-of-the-line HD sets can now get access to 1080p high-definition streaming video even if their ISP doesn't participate in the company's content delivery network, Open Connect.
Netflix had previously limited availability of 1080p streams to customers of ISPs who had integrated Netflix equipment at their facilities through Open Connect. "Based on the performance data we've seen, and in response to member requests, we are now expanding availability to give all our members the ability to enjoy Netflix in the best possible quality," Netflix wrote on its blog.
But Netflix subscribers won't always get that pristine, high-quality stream from Netflix. The company was quick to point out that it uses something called adaptive streaming to automatically reduce the quality of the video it sends when it detects a dearth of bandwidth available. And in the past when it has ranked the bandwidth performance of ISPs, its Open Connect partners have taken the top spots on the list.
Furthermore, not all subscribers have TV sets capable of displaying 1080p streams. The bulk of new sets sold today sport those higher-resolution screens, but lower-resolution 720p sets are still on the market and sell well. For instance, the top-selling TV on BestBuy.com is 720p.
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