6 Things You Should Know About Netflix “Super HD”

Lots of people have been asking about the new “Super HD” from Netflix, what it is, how to get it etc. So here’s some info to get you started:

Click to enlarge. Notice how Regular and Super HD are the same resolution, but Super HD is more crisp and less blurry. This takes a lot more bandwidth, so be careful if you have data caps! Call your internet provider if you can’t handle SuperHD and tell them you want it (both the technology, and higher data caps).

What is Netflix Super HD

  • Netflix “Super HD” is at the same 1080p maximum resolution, but delivers a clearer picture by using more bandwidth (think high quality jpeg vs low quality jpeg that are the same resolution, but the one with better quality is a larger file).
  • In your Netflix settings, “Low” takes up about .3 GB per hour, “Medium” take .7 GB per hour, “High” takes up to 3GB per hour, and “Auto” updates based on your connection. If SuperHD is available, High and Auto can both get it, assuming your connection to Netflix is fast enough.
  • Not all ISP’s are currently offering Super HD, as they have to agree to Netflix’ “Open Connect” – which lets people stream video from peer-to-peer instead of only directly from Netflix. It makes sense, if Netflix just sent me “Air Bud”, and my neighbor starts streaming the same thing, why not have me send him some of it while Netflix sends him the rest? Of course the “anti-net neutrality” lobby like Time Warner would have you believe otherwise. ISP’s need to directly set up “Open Connect” with Netflix, so if they haven’t, you can’t stream Super HD no matter how fast your internet connection is.
    • To see if your ISP is Super HD ready and to sign up, go to https://signup.netflix.com/superhd and submit your account. If you can, you’ll see a message that says, “Your internet provider is ready for Super HD!”
Click to enlarge. This is the Super HD message for Cox Communications.
  • If your provider is against Open Connect or just hasn’t set up with Netflix yet, you’ll receive a message that says, “Your Internet provider is not configured for Super HD yet.” While we understand that many people don’t have many options for ISPs, be sure to let yours know that you don’t appreciate them holding you back from superior technology. Similarly, if you have data caps you’re not going to want to stream Super HD – call your ISP and tell them you’re going to cancel*.
Super HD 1080p:
Regular 1080p: 

Open these in two separate tabs and switch back and forth. You’ll see the first one has more crisp stars and the back windows of the flying ship, while the second’s a slightly blurry, but both are 1080p.

  • Along with Super HD, Netflix is introducing some 3D technology for those of us with the proper equipment, but your Internet Service Provider will need to agree to similar “Open Connect” terms with Netflix.

How you can hold your ISP accountable

*One tip for talking to cable companies and ISPs: If you’re having and issue, call and tell them you want to cancel service on the first of the next month (you already paid for this month after all). That gets you off the line with a low level Customer Service rep whose job is to get you off the phone, and to the high level “Customer Retention Specialist” that can actually offer discounts and extras for free. Be polite, but firmly go through with the cancellation request for the first of the month if they don’t offer you anything adequate to make up for it. Then, if you haven’t found a better offer in the next few days, call back and cancel your cancellation – you can bet the executives notice any major increases in cancellations from a bunch of people wanting Netflix SuperHD.
Updated 3/10/2017 with better screenshots and more info.

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10 thoughts on “6 Things You Should Know About Netflix “Super HD””

  1. You've mistaken the word "peering" that Netflix use to describe Open Connect with "peer to peer". What Netflix want ISPs to do is "peer" with Netflix at key Internet exchange points, and, if possible, put Netflix storage appliances inside the ISP's network.

    The former makes it easier and cheaper for Netflix to throw data around to other ISPs. If not using Open Connect, the ISPs will have to receive the data over "transit" links, which are more expensive to operate on a traffic-level basis. Peering links are usually free (at least to link to another network operator, there will usually be a relatively small fee to the exchange point operator to connect to a common switch), and usually unlimited in terms of traffic usage.

    The latter reduces the throughput of the ISPs links to the "outside world". Instead of having to transfer Netflix video data all the way from Netflix themselves, the ISP customer receives data from a storage system inside the ISPs network, which will more than likely be geographically closer to the customer than Netflix. That storage system will be seeded with popular content, and will likely cache new content as it is requested by customers "upstream" of the appliance.

    Neither of these solutions has anything to do with what your neighbor is watching 🙂

  2. You think regular HD looks "fine". That is funny. In the near future you are going to be the equivalent of a modern day "old person" who has absolutely no idea how to use a computer. Have a fun life of no progression.

  3. Why has no one hacked the app to work with windows 7? I have my htpc locked with deep freeze. Why can't someone offer a hack to work with win 7 or make them upgrade silver light to support real world applications. Win 7 support Netflix?

  4. A better question is why they created the artificial, arbitrary, pointless limitation in the first place. There's no technical reason that Windows 7 can't do 1080p with 5.1 sound.

  5. Im currently NOT getting Super HD, but my friend gets it, and i really dont see a difference. Maybe on the future TV sets but on his 42 in 1080P Panasonic Plasma i see NO difference.

  6. It seems to me that Netflix is labelling some content as SuperHD that was not actually filmed in 1080p. It is not true HD if it is upscaled.

  7. My parents, on Verizon, in Columbia Md. get Super HD and it looks much better than the normal HD I get on Time Warner in Raleigh NC. It depends on the show you are watching if you will see a significant difference, but once you "see" the difference you will understand. It's like watching a show in 720 vs. 1080. It's that big a difference.

    I'll be switching to google Fiber as soon as it's available in my area, I hope they carry Super HD on their gigabit Internet. ; )

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