Netflix has been throttling video streams, but plans to start giving users quality control

Rob Attrell

March 26, 2016 3:58pm

Streaming video is an important feature for mobile device users, and as screens get larger and better, video quality is increasingly important. However, many mobile plans don’t include unlimited data caps, especially in Canada, and video consumes a significant amount of bandwidth.

This week, Netflix revealed it has been capping video bitrates on cellular devices at 600 kbps, since at a mobile device’s screen size, the quality difference is minimal. In light of most users’ metered data plans, the streaming giant decided to prioritize bandwidth over providing the highest quality picture.

At the same time, Netflix understands that some of its customers want the best possible video experience and might not have a bandwidth cap to manage.

To satisfy these users, Netflix also announced that starting in May of this year, it will be introducing a new data saver feature. The setting will allow users to choose what video quality they wish to use while streaming over cellular networks, so users who want HD video on the go will have the freedom to get it.

Related reading: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says blocking region-switching proxy services is ‘the maturation of Internet TV’

  • Steve

    About time..YouTube already does this..I was wondering when Netflix would.

  • blzd

    This is much needed. Currently, Netflix won’t use the full WiFi internet connection available to it to either, I’m assuming, prioritize traffic to other users on the network. Often there is no need to do so and I would like higher quality videos instead.

    Mobile Netflix’s cap only uses a fraction of my available mobile bandwidth speeds.

  • I hope this update is international and not just the US. I read this earlier but it was regarding US customer with AT&T

  • Rybone89

    How about freaking HD to start with? Over half the Android phones & tablets on the market don’t even support Netflix HD. The G4 doesn’t but the G3 does…the F?