Netflix offers video streaming tiers to help Canadian users reduce bandwidth use

Netflix may be bullish on the Canadian video streaming market, having launched its video streaming service in Canada last fall, but the company is being sensitive to the proposed usage based billing (UBB) proposals on the table by the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the country's resident incumbent cable (Rogers) and telcos (Bell Canada).

In a blog post, Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer for Netflix, said that in Canada their video streaming service will consume less than two-thirds data on average, adding that there will be no impact on video quality.

If a Canadian broadband customer watches over 30 hours of Netflix video streaming in a month they will only consume nine Gigabytes of data. Before the new network tweaks, viewing 30 hours of Netflix content would consume about 70 Gigabytes of data.

Netflix will offer video streaming consumers three options:

  • Good: a default setting with good picture quality that limits video/audio to 625 kbps/64 kbps.
  • Better: provides a better picture quality and medium data use per hour at 1300 kbps/192 kpbs, meaning that 30 hours of content would consume less than 20 GBytes per month.
  • Best: Providing the best picture quality and highest data user per hour, which is about 1.0 GBytes/hour - or up to 2.3 GBytes/hour when streaming HD content).

Putting the user in control, Netflix members can adjust these settings whenever they want by visiting the Manage Video Quality Page. While Canadian bandwidth consumers, especially movie addicts, won't like these new changes they will at least protect them from being hit with a bandwidth overage charge.

For more:
- see the Netflix blog post

Related articles:
Bell Canada's revised UBB plan is a "Band-Aid," says critics
CRTC to conduct hearing on usage based billing in July
Canada's UBB restrictions: A blow to competitors and consumers
Canada's CRTC requires incumbents to offer 15% discount to wholesale customers