Netflix ranks ISPs based on video stream quality

By on January 28, 2011, 7:30 AM
Netflix has released a chart that ranks popular Internet service providers based on how well they deliver videos to users. "We find ourselves in the unique position of having insight into the performance of hundreds of millions of long duration, high-definition video streams delivered over the Internet," said Ken Florance, Netflix's director of content delivery.

By using a "time-weighted bitrate metric," the company has mapped the effective data throughput its subscribers receive over various big-name ISPs in the US and Canada. Netflix's top HD streams are about 4800 kilobits per second and the bitrate subscribers achieve varies due to throughput constraints. Naturally, a higher bitrate means better video quality.


Interestingly, the relatively small cable provider Charter scored highest on Netflix's chart, edging ahead of titans like Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox. Netflix found Century Tel, Frontier and Clearwire to offer the worst streaming quality, but that's not a major surprise. Century Tel and Frontier are DSL providers, while Clearwire offers wireless broadband.

Despite its growing fiber optics network, Verizon placed eighth on the US list. We assume that's because the company's DSL and FiOS figures are lumped together. Canadian providers Shaw and Rogers are neck and neck for first, while Bell Canada and Telus ranked a distant third and fourth. How satisfied are you with your ISP when it comes to video streaming?

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