Netflix will reportedly add 1080p streaming and 5.1 surround sound
to its portfolio later this year -- though the initial audience may be slim. The service currently offers 720p streaming when paired with an HD-friendly system, such as the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Roku, which typically requires a connection speed of about 5Mb/s or better. Streaming media in 1080p may require an even faster connection, but Netflix hasn't commented.
It's worth noting that only one in 12 Netflix users subscribe to the Blu-ray service, and a mere 6% of the service's library is currently available in HD -- a selection Netflix has called "underwhelming
." It's unknown how much content will be available in 1080p at launch, but the presently limited array of HD videos is bound to increase as the world adopts HDTVs and Blu-ray. An exact release date is also unclear.