The current leader in subscription video streaming is Netflix, and today at its Las Vegas hotel suite we saw some of the technology it's planning to stay a step ahead of the competition this year. First up was one of the most widely requested features -- the ability to set up individual profiles for different family members, complete with their own queues and recommendations. The profiles can be set up on device or on the Netflix site, with toggles for a preference to its Just for Kids menu UI, as well as asking a bit about your preferred movies to seed initial recommendations.
We also got an eyeful of the new "Super HD" 1080p streaming, and although network issues kept us from getting a true gauge of the quality, we did confirm that the new max bitrates are well above the old "X-High" standards. Another thing we confirmed? That Cablevision and Google Fiber aren't the only US ISPs on its Open Connect list -- check the site to see if yours is.There was also a screen in the Samsung booth showing "early results" of their combined work on 4K video, but since it wasn't actually streaming there's not much to see.
Netflix was even showing off 3D streaming, and although we weren't able to confirm the type of compression being used (top/bottom, side by side or something else) we did watch it and it was mostly clear with only a few hints of ghosting. There are apparently several dozen 3D titles available to start, although customer reaction may dictate when/if more are added. The second screen experience we've seen on the PS3 was also shown working with Samsung TVs, in much the same manner. One thing that could make it better however, is the DIAL multiscreen initiative it's pushing with YouTube. If picked up as a standard, it would let you automatically launch these streaming services on a mobile device, and make them start playing on compatible TVs without having to launch the app on the TV first.
Not enough good news? Netflix also announced a launch date for another original series, Hemlock Grove, which hits April 19th (trailer after the break), and dropped the news that we'll be getting 14 new eps of Arrested Development in May. We expect to hear a bit more about all of that later in 2013, but if you want a preview of the features we saw then just check out the gallery.
Netflix profiles, SuperHD hands-on
Hemlock Grove" Eli Roth's Gothic Thriller Developed By Brian McGreevy & Lee Shipman Available Only On Netflix April 19
All 13 Episodes of Original Series, Based on Brian McGreevy's Novel, Will Be Available Simultaneously in All Netflix Territories
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Netflix Original Series "Hemlock Grove," a riveting and eerie mystery from executive producer Eli Roth and based on Brian McGreevy's novel of the same name, will be available for members to watch instantly and in its entirety beginning April 19, 2013.
All 13-episodes of the series, which stars Famke Janssen ("X-Men"), Bill Skarsgard ("Simon & The Oaks"), Landon Liboiron ("Terra Nova"), Penelope Mitchell ("6 Plots"), Freya Tingley ("X"), and Dougray Scott ("Mission Impossible II") will debut concurrently in all territories that Netflix is available – U.S., Canada, the UK, Ireland, Latin America, Brazil and Scandinavia.
"'Hemlock Grove' is unlike anything else in its genre," said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix. "It's sexy, gripping, emotional and twisted, and we're certain viewers are going to be captivated by its intensity."
The series revolves around the eccentric residents of a dilapidated former Pennsylvania steel town and the murder of 17-year-old Brooke Bluebell. Through the investigation, the town's seamier side is exposed, revealing that nothing is what it seems.
"Hemlock Grove" marks the first foray into television by internationally acclaimed horror master Eli Roth ("Hostel," "Cabin Fever"), who also directed the first episode. The series is executive produced by Roth, McGreevy & Shipman, Mark Verheiden, Deran Sarafian, Eric Newman and Michael Connolly. The series was developed by Brian McGreevy & Lee Shipman. This one-hour murder mystery is produced by Gaumont International Television for Netflix.