Netflix launches new cellular data controls to help bandwidth strapped subscribers

Netflix’s new cellular data control feature will likely be very useful for Canadians with restrictive mobile data caps.

Netflix today is rolling out a new feature that allows subscribers to stream approximately three hours of TV or movies per gigabyte of data, breaking the stream down to a 600 kilobit per second bit rate.

“As we have launched Netflix around the world, we have seen big differences in how much people are streaming on smartphones and what kinds of mobile data plans they have. Today, we are offering a new tool to help you better control how much data you use when streaming on cellular networks,” writes Netflix’s Eddy Wu, the platforms’ director of product innovation, in a recent blog post.

Wu says that in Netflix’s testing, the service found that striking a balance between video quality in data usage helped customers avoid exceeding data caps and incurring overage fees.

Subscribers with high or unlimited data caps can easily adjust the settings to stream content at a higher bitrate.

To access the new cellular data usage settings in Netflix’s mobile app, navigate to “App Settings” after updating the platform’s iOS or Android App, and then select “Cellular Data Usage. In this panel users are able to switch off the default automatic settings and select higher or lower data usage.

“As with all streaming, actual data usage can vary based on your device capabilities and network conditions. Your mobile carrier also may impact the actual data usage even if you elect a higher setting in the Netflix app. This setting only affects data usage while viewing on your mobile device on cellular networks; streaming on Wi-Fi is not affected nor is streaming when tethered,” writes Wu.