Hats off to Netflix. Without really being prompted, they've released their HD encoding/streaming specifications for the world to see. The company revealed that they originally considered a WMV3 (Windows Media Player 9) codec running at 4000kbps and 5500kbps, but opted instead for a similar Microsoft codec, the VC1AP running between 2600kbps and 3800kbps—which should provide a better experience for those of us with lower bandwidths.
While Netflix offers 24fps movies in their native frames per second, their other content peaks at 30fps. The company researched the 60fps content found on Blu-ray discs, they realised that they'd be better off reserving that sort of quality for another era. Good call.
While it's a bit unfair to compare bitrates across codecs, Vudu's premium HDX material is still the top dog in streaming, supplying encoded rates ranging between 9Mbps and 20Mbps. Then again, most of us can't watch that footage in real time. [Netflix via CNET]