Netflix is about to up the compression on videos that are less action-oriented.
In most cases, that'll result in smaller file sizes that give customers more video for their bandwidth buck. So, why don't we already have that, especially for download services like iTunes where we could also save on storage? Don Melton, explains:
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 know. It's hard to predict because consumers… well… we're f*****g stupid.
Sadly, Don's speaking truth. For years, media and customers were obsessed with megapixel count in cameras, resulting in high numbers on shredded sensors and generations of compromised photos. Likewise music, where reporting and purchasing was based on bitrate with little no regard for the codecs and respective advantages thereof.
Would reviewers and customers appreciate the value of lower-sized video downloads? Probably not, but I bet Apple could either sell us on the advantages, or weather "the f*****g stupidity" long enough for us to come to understand the value.
(Don went into far more detail on the latest episode of his podcast, co-hosted by yours truly.)