Streaming vs. Blu-ray: What Are Your Friends Seeing?
A couple of weeks ago we mused on the qualitative audio experience offered by Blu-ray, and whether our friends family and neighbors know or care what they’re missing with the lossy audio options available from streaming applications. Today, I want to get your lively thoughts on the video quality of streaming applications. Before Netflix, Apple TV or Vudu we’d been preaching that not all high-definition content is created equal. The high bitrates and advanced compression used on Blu-ray is superior on large screens to critical viewers. It’s the gold standard. While I’ve not found the video quality of streams from Cable on-demand, Netflix or Apple TV to be impressive my question is whether you have? Do you find that the difference in video quality between streaming and Blu-ray is definitive on your video setup? What about your friends and family? When they come over and see Blu-ray on your system do they seem interested in going Blu? Or if they notice, do they shrug, and not want to spend the money on a player and discs? Or are there other barriers?
And here’s another complication on the issue. My Internet download speed is good, but my cable company only commits to 2MB downloads and I’m sharing bandwidth with my neighbors in peak evening hours. I don’t totally live in the boonies, and yet Comcast doesn’t offer higher speed Internet packages in my area (I’d pony up if they did). Do you have enough bandwidth where you live to get good video quality from streaming? Are there dropouts or buffering issues? If streaming is good enough for some programs, like TV shows is it what you use for first-run movies?