Netflix Canada offers lower video quality to counter bandwidth caps

By on March 29, 2011, 1:51 PM
Netflix Canada has changed the default quality setting for video streams in response to monthly bandwidth data caps set by Canadian Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Users can still switch back to the old option if they do not want to sacrifice quality.

In the past, viewing 30 hours of Netflix content could consume as much as 70GB, if it was all in HD, and typically about 30GB. Now, Canadians can watch 30 hours of streaming from Netflix in a month and only consume 9GB of data, well below most data caps. There is some lessening of picture quality with these new settings, but Netflix insists "the experience continues to be great."

If a Netflix member wants to change back to higher data usage and video quality, they can do so on the Manage Video Quality page, found under Your Account. There are now three settings there:

  • Good (video/audio is limited to 625 kbps/64 kbps) - The default setting with good picture quality and lowest data use at about 0.3GB/hour
  • Better (video/audio is limited to 1300 kbps/192 kpbs) - Better picture quality and medium data use at about 0.7 GB/hour
  • Best (the best video/audio rates available, 2200 kbps/192 kbps for non-HD content and 4800kbps/384kbps for HD content) - Best picture quality and highest date use at about 1.0 GB/hour or up to 2.3GB/hour when streaming HD content

At all settings, Netflix adaptive streaming may choose a lower data rate stream if you have a slower connection or if there is congestion, in order to minimize interruptions. At the same time, Netflix streams a little bit of additional data as a buffer each time you start a movie or TV show. Frequent starts and stops, or rewind/seek activity, will slightly increase the amount of data Netflix streams to you per hour but in most cases this will amount to less than a few minutes' worth.




User Comments: 7

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tonylukac said:

So, Netflix will work on my 700k dsl? I'll have to try it. Don't watch much tv anyway. (The next higher speed is more than double the price.)

pcnthuziast said:

Consider yourself lucky. The best fastest service I can get in area is 600.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Keep all political hands off our Internet, in the US or we might have the same fate. Net Neutrality may sound nice (like "Patriot" Act), but in reality it gives gov't a foot in the door to later screw up our last great hope, the net.

yRaz yRaz said:

spydercanopus said:

Keep all political hands off our Internet, in the US or we might have the same fate. Net Neutrality may sound nice (like "Patriot" Act), but in reality it gives gov't a foot in the door to later screw up our last great hope, the net.

please, explain how net neutrality is in anyway like the patriot act. The telecom companies and ISP's are screwing up net neutrality more than the government possibly could.

supertech supertech said:

The "big" internet providers are an absolute rip off. A 25GB bandwidth usage for a month is big joke, especially as rich media is growing daily with better and better quality. Weather the ISP's & cable companies like it or not, everything is going online and people are tired of being ripped off for a huge cable bill when you watch 1 show a night.

Also, ISP's better get their act together... The federal government knocked the CRTC's ruling (UBB) a couple of months ago and Bell just announced yesterday that they are abandoning the push for UBB for their resellers.

The internet is here and people are not stupid !!!

AlanCasseb said:

pcnthuziast said:

Consider yourself lucky. The best fastest service I can get in area is 600.

600k?

i'm really curious about where are you guys from since i have a 100mb (160GB bandwidth cap) cable at my home network living in Brazil.

The only downside really is the upload speed (4mb) having a hard time keeping my ratios up. 160GB is more than fine for my 720p-us-series-monthly-needs : )

PS: Long time TS reader, first post.

Guest said:

Here in Ireland we have had data caps for years, we have a useless regulator of the comms industry, ComReg laughably known as ConReg.

Our own ISP has an 8GB daily limit that when exceeded cuts to 512k/512k from current 7MB/1MB but this is a WISP and most if not all DSL ISPs either have to resell the incumbents (eircom) DSL terrible service (woeful due to a flopped privatisation years ago followed by years of debt loading and asset stripping) or on very few exchanges avail of an unbundled DSL service using ADSL2+, there are very limited areas of cable access and virtually no fibre (except for backbone and dark fibre)

Hearing the stories of ye guys across the pond makes me wonder have your comms companies being taking a leaf out of our ISPs book ?

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