It’s being reported that Netflix will start streaming 1080p content with 5.1 surround sound later this year. This will be good news if you have the setup to take advantage of it. The current line of Roku boxes won’t be capable of streaming at 1080p. I’m sure most Blu-ray players will be able to take advantage of it. The biggest issue will be bandwidth. Currently you need around 5MBs for streaming 720p. That’s what Netflix says. I generally test at 7MBs and the Roku boxes rarely can keep a HD stream. My Blu-ray player does a lot better job and I rarely drop quality mid show. I’m guessing that’s because the Blu-ray player has more memory for a larger buffer. So if I need 7MBs for 720p, I would need 15MBs for 1080p. That’s a lot of bandwidth that people don’t have, unless you’re running FiOS or plan on streaming while everyone is at work.
With that being said I have no idea how Netflix is going to package the content to deliver. We will have to wait until later this year to see how well it works.