Netflix introduces mobile data streaming controls

Netflix has introduced a new feature allowing users to control the amount of data being consumed through mobile-video streaming.

The video streaming provider had previously come under fire for automatically stifling the bitrate of video being streamed on mobile networks. T-Mobile US CEO John Legere inadvertently revealed Netflix streams at a capped rate on mobile networks, sparking a debate over net neutrality and zero-rating issues affecting the streaming provider.

At the time, Netflix said it put limits on streaming bitrates by default to preserve user data allowances but that a self-management option would be made available in the not too distant future.

The tool will now allow users to select a range of streaming qualities with the aim of maximising data-usage. The default setting, according to Netflix, will cater for 3 hours of viewing per gigabyte of data consumed on a cellular connection using a bitrate of roughly 600 Kilobits per second.

“Our testing found that, on cellular networks, this setting balances good video quality with lower data usage to help avoid exceeding data caps and incurring overage fees,” said Eddy Wu, Netflix’s Director of Product Innovation. “If you have a mobile data plan with a higher data cap, you can adjust this setting to stream at higher bitrates. Our goal is to give you more control and greater choice in managing your data usage whether you’re on an unlimited mobile plan or one that’s more restrictive.”

Other settings available see a range of 2-4 hours of streaming per gigabyte consumed, and could indicate a future benchmark to be followed by other over the top content providers.

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