See the thing about Netflix is you get into their New Arrivals category for Instant Watch and see Shutter Island and you’re like “Cool, Shutter Island” but then you realize it’s just SD which looks terrible on a big TV and you’re left with a choice: Watch it in standard-def or add it to the disc-by-mail queue?
Then you see Death at a Funeral (a must-see with comedians Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence), Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Law Abiding Citizen, and your girlfriend spots The Bounty Hunter (Jenny Aniston & 300‘s Gerard Butler). But lo and behold they ALL only stream in SD.
Shutter Island and the other movies mentioned are some of the new titles available on Netflix from Starz Play, which aren’t offered to stream in HD. You’ve got to search a bit for HD quality streaming video. Every month we try to update you on new HD titles, but we’d love it if Netflix were to start offering even more movies in HD.
Taking business elsewhere? Now that PlayStation 3 users can download VUDU movies via a PlayStation Store app, it’s more tempting to purchase a rental in HD and watch it immediately rather than wait for a Blu-ray Disc by mail. And, the VUDU HDX quality at 1080p can only be surpassed by Blu-ray Disc 1080p.
Can you watch the SD stuff on Netflix? If you sit far enough away from you HDTV, maybe. But the only way I’ll watch SD from Netflix is on a PC where the size is small enough not to notice the low resolution and heavy compression.
However, a couple new Netflix titles I noticed in HD that I’ll throw out there: The Queen of the Damned (A vampire movie starring Aaliyah that starts off really bad but picks up a bit), Arn: The Knight Templar (foreign film about a Swedish knight’s quest for the crown), and Ichi (Japanese martial arts film about a blind swordswoman caught in a village feud – a definite R rating for blood and violence).