Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Netflix’s New Video Compression Scheme

Don Melton:

Anyway, Netflix is talking about the bitrates for their 1080p videos soon being as low 2000 Kbps for the simple stuff. That’s down from the 4300-5800 Kbps range they’re using now. And I’m sure they can do that on the low end without any perceivable loss of quality while streaming.

But can Apple and Amazon sell 1080p videos — averaging about 5000 Kbps now — at bitrates as low as 2000 Kbps — less than half that average size — without a perceived loss of value?

I don’t see why they couldn’t. From my experiences with a non-technical crowd, they don’t care about video bitrate, likely because video isn’t marketed on bitrate but size.1 As long as it says “HD” and it looks “HD”, most people probably won’t care whether the file is 2,000 or 5,000 Kbps.


  1. I also know of a lot of people who rip audio from YouTube, transcoding an already poor-quality MP3 track into an even poorer-quality file. ↩︎