Netflix lowers default picture quality to ease bandwidth usage

In a blog posting on its corporate website, Netflix Chief Product Office Neil Hunt has announced, that starting this week, the company has lowered its default picture quality in order to ease the amount of internet traffic generated by its customers.

Hunt says Netflix now defaults users to its 300 Megabyte per hour stream instead of its 700 MB per hour stream thereby reducing bandwidth usage by about two-thirds.

For consumers watching 30 hours a month, about an hour a day, of Netflix, it means the default streaming rate will incur about 9 GB of internet traffic usage a month. That amounts says Hunt will be below most users cap so they won’t have to pay and additional usage based fees to their internet service provider.

Although the default setting will be lowered, Netflix will continue to offer subscribers multiple video quality settings for standard definition video. The three settings are Good, Better and Best which translate into 300MB, 700MB, and 1GB of usage per hour of viewing.

High Definition video will continue to be offered at a rate that consumes about 2.3 GB per hour which means that 30 hours a month of HD video will consume about 70 GB of data.

Netflix subscribers can manage change their default settings through the company’s website by logging on and altering the settings in the “Manage Video Quality” page of their account.

Discuss Netflix and the new caps in Digital Home’s Home Theatre Personal Computer (HTPC) forum.

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