What Resolution do I need to Stream Movie Content?


When choosing between Lovefilm and Netflix you might be bombarded with messages about who does the highest quality videos. Are they in HD? Are they in Super HD? Is there a difference?

In this article we’ll look at the difference between the video qualities offered by Lovefilm and Netflix and try to work out if bigger resolution is always better and if Super HD is always super.

720p, 1080p… What do they mean?

720p and 1080p are high definition resolutions. The ‘p’ stands for pixels and the number indicates the number of horizontal lines of pixels running down the screen. The higher the number of these lines, the larger and deeper the quality of the image.

720p runs at the resolution 1280×720 whereas 1080p equates to 1920×1080.

Which Netflix or Lovefilm devices offer full 1080p HD?

Many times the quality of video you get from Netflix and Lovefilm Instant is dependent on the individual service’s content library, the device you are using to view the video and the speed of your internet connection. If a video is marked ‘HD’ or ‘Super HD’, it will run at that quality if a) your device supports it and b) your internet connection can handle the bandwidth requirements.

Lovefilm offers HD on the following devices:

Xbox 360™: 720p

Desktop (PC & Mac): 720p & 1080p

Samsung TV/Blu-ray: 720p

LG TV/Blu-ray: 720p

PlayStation®3: 720p

Sony TV/ Blu-ray: 720p

Kindle Fire HD Tablet 7": 720p

Kindle Fire HD Tablet 8.9": 720p & 1080p

Wii U™: 720p

Netflix offers 1080p “Super HD” on the following devices:

Apple TV with 1080p

Google Chromecast

Roku with 1080p

Sony PlayStation 3

Nintendo Wii U

TiVo Premiere DVR

Windows 8 App

Blu-Ray Players, Smart TVs, Home Theatres, and Streaming Players with existing Netflix 1080p support.

As for internet connection speeds, Lovefilm recommends a minimum speed of 4 Mbps to play 720p quality videos and 12 Mbps minimum to play 1080p quality videos.

The Verdict

I remember growing up and being perfectly happy watching TV shows on a grainy TV with a significantly lower resolution than either 720p and 1080p but as TVs have grown in size, and digital TV has rose to prominence, having a higher definition image has become important.

This being said, the need to have 1080p relies on the size of the screen you are watching it on… and, to an extent, the distance you are intending to sit from it.

If you plan to watch shows on your PC, laptop or tablet computer then 720p will be more than enough to have an excellent viewing experience. If you have a 720p television then again, 720p will be more than enough.

If, however, you wish to experience the optimum viewing experience and have a fast enough internet connection, a big 1080p-ready TV, and are sat close enough to the screen to make out the difference in quality (the further back you go, the less your eye can distinguish quality), then you may be interested in choosing a streaming service supplier that provides the highest number of 1080p movies and TV shows.


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Lucy James

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