CR Finds Little Difference Between HD, SD Online Streaming

The March 2009 edition of “Consumer Reports” magazine notes very little difference between what is purported to be online “HD streaming” and regular streaming among America’s two largest disc-rental/streaming firms—Netflix and Blockbuster.

Netflix also edged out rival Blockbuster in customer satisfaction, according to a poll by the non-profit Consumers Union—the Yonkers, N.Y.-based products lab that publishes “Consumer Reports.”

Blockbuster followed Netflix into the disc rental business a few years ago, but the brick-and-mortar chain never achieved as large a subscriber mailing base as Netflix, which recently surpassed the 10-million sub mark. Both firms are actively pursuing instant online streaming as another means of delivery.

While CR was not impressed with either service’s so-called “HD streaming” video quality, Netflix did win praise for its standard DVD inventory of more than 120,000 titles (about 12 percent of which have been digitized for streaming). In the past year, Netflix has cut online streaming deals involving TiVo, LGE and Samsung Blu-ray players, and Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles, among others.

Netflix also rents Blu-ray titles, but tacks a $1 per-title surcharge on top of monthly fees. CR concludes that most of Blockbuster’s subscription plans are more expensive than Netflix’s comparable plans.

Read all of HD Notebookhere.