If you’re not looking for Siri or don’t use HomeKit, there’s a vast array of speakers, which support AirPlay, that could can purchase, from the likes of Devialet, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Bang & Olufsen, and more. We’ll need to wait for AirPlay 2 support from competing products (the HomePod doesn’t have it either at the moment), but for people who don’t need a digital assistant and want more versatility (e.g. Spotify), there are many interesting options out there that range from 100 to many thousands of dollars.
I’m mentioning this because ‘everyone’ keeps on saying how the HomePod doesn’t really compete with Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, but they fail to include any comparisons or even acknowledge the existence of more traditional solutions to listening to music or audio.
Anyway, Netflix is talking about the bitrates for their 1080p videos soon being as low 2000 Kbps for the simple stuff. That’s down from the 4300-5800 Kbps range they’re using now. And I’m sure they can do that on the low end without any perceivable loss of quality while streaming.
But can Apple and Amazon sell 1080p videos — averaging about 5000 Kbps now — at bitrates as low as 2000 Kbps — less than half that average size — without a perceived loss of value?
I don’t know. It’s hard to predict because consumers… well… we’re fucking stupid.
A very insightful and technical post about video and audio encoders, bitrates, and the future for Netflix, Apple and others.
An example would be TIDAL and their HQ uncompressed format, or whatever they’re calling it. I’m sure it’s great if you have the right equipment, young enough ears, and the ability to tell the difference. I still can, but just barely, and quite frankly the added overhead in terms of size (amongst other hurdles) is just too much of a hassle for me. The current iTunes/Spotify/pick-your-vice formats are more than enough, and if they flipped the switch overnight without telling anyone, I doubt many would notice. I know I wouldn’t.