Netflix opens Super HD streaming to Apple TV, other devices

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Netflix bumped up the quality of its HD movie and television streaming service on Thursday, expanding Super HD support for all devices, including the Apple TV set-top box.

The announcement was made via a blog post, with Netflix touting the feature as being available to "all Netflix members, regardless of their Internet service provider." Previously, the service had been available only to customers whose ISPs had a direct connection to Netflix.

Super HD is most useful for 1080p displays that can take advantage of the higher bit rate streams, which Netflix dynamically adjusts based on available bandwidth.

Also benefiting from the service will be customers who access Netflix through the Apple TV set-top box. For those users, Thursday's announcement is but the latest in a string of Netflix service improvements on Apple's streaming device. The company first added 1080p streaming in 2012 alongside automated billing through iTunes in 2012, and brought multiple-user accounts to both iOS devices and Apple TV earlier this year.

It should be noted that HD and Super HD content options are limited to certain titles and can only be displayed on devices supporting HD.

Netflix says the decision to expand Super HD to all customers was the result of continual member requests and a process of examining streaming performance data. The service now uses "adaptive streaming" to adjust video quality depending on available bandwidth. Customers on ISPs with direct connections "will get the best experience," but users on other providers will also see Super HD content depending on bandwidth conditions.

Netflix also took the opportunity to encourage service providers to adopt Netflix Open Connect, the company's optimized video content delivery network. Netflix offers the service to ISPs at no cost, though a number of providers have resisted signing up, due in part to the high level of bandwidth already consumed being consumed by Netflix users.