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EFF sides with YouTube, says T-Mobile's Binge On throttles all video traffic

By Shawn Knight ยท 6 replies
Jan 5, 2016
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  1. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has come out in support of YouTube's claim that T-Mobile's Binge On service amounts to little more than throttling.

    The foundation recently published the results of its independent testing which shows that T-Mobile's Binge On service simply throttles all video to 1.5Mbps when enabled, regardless of whether it's streaming or a direct download. Furthermore, there's no actual "optimization" taking place at all.

    The EFF contacted T-Mobile for clarification and surprisingly enough, the carrier admitted that they don't do any actual optimization of video streams other than reducing the bandwidth allocated to them. As such, this puts the burden of any true optimization back on the provider and they must recognize and adjust the bitrate accordingly.

    YouTube's beef with the service is that T-Mobile is throttling their content despite the fact that they don't actually participate in Binge On. Indeed, the EFF agrees that one option for T-Mobile would be to stop throttling the video of providers that don't participate in Binge On.

    But perhaps the best option, the EFF concludes, would be for T-Mobile to set up Binge On as an opt-in service rather than its current opt-out method and clearly disclose that all video traffic will be throttled when Binge On is enabled.

    It would seem that T-Mobile's saving grace at this point is the fact that customers can enable / disable Binge On at will. Whether or not customers are aware of this fact and the ramifications associated with it being disabled (all video being throttled) could ultimately decide its fate with regulators.

    Lead image via Patrick T. Fallon, Getty Images. Chart courtesy EFF.

    Permalink to story.

  2. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,180   +1,626

    In other words, T-mobile simply confirmed what the astute already knew - Binge On is simply marketing drivel that adds no value but entices customers by implying that they are getting something they are not.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,283

    What did Binge On! users expect... free lunches? They don't exist. Binge On! is just another, yet very common marketing tactic to attract more customers. I don't know why Google has so much to say, they're the biggest proponents and instigators of such nefarious schemes. Maybe it's because they're not making any money from it apart from the usual income from their Adsense racket.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
    Reehahs and wiyosaya like this.
  4. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,180   +1,626

    Exactly, gagme should talk!
  5. T-Mobile is really for cell phones only. So if someone is watching video on their cell, how is this not "optimizing"? I would consider this "optimizing" since the quality needed for the cell compared to a TV is minuscule.
    I don't see any marketing gimmick here..the first time I read about this being bing-on and being optimized, I knew right away that the quality will be reduced for cell phone consumption.

    What all those people complaining what to do is to tether their phones and watch it on their TV in like 4k quality.
  6. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,525   +436

    I have a QHD display on my phone. I want to watch in at least 1080p on my phone because it is noticeably better detail.
  7. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 978   +323

    I agree with Win7Dev, 360k resolution is really only ok on a 960 x 480 screen phone. Videos below 720p look grainy on my 1080p phone and I would imagine that anything lower than 1080p would be grainy on a QHD screen. It really is noticeable how grainy those lower resolution videos are even on a phone screen.

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