written by JoseQMarch 20,2020
Netflix Throttles Bitrates

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In what's going to be the norm (in Europe) for a while, Netflix has announced that they will be limiting transmission bitrates throughout Europe for the next 30 days. The bitrate is the amount of data that travels to your TV per second. Due to the lockdown policies established in various cities and countries, the strain on certain network areas is likely unprecedented.

Much like what we're seeing in the US these days, many students are having to work from home, sometimes video conferencing with their teachers; all the while their parents are also working from home. It's this additional video streaming, and the shift from schools and businesses back to the home, all during the same time of day, that is pushing urban networks like never before.

Of course, the king of internet traffic (after dethroning porn and spam a few years back) is none other than Netflix. Luckily, Netflix shows are encoded on a variety of bitrates, so they can choose to limit their more bandwidth hungry formats and transmit at lesser quality, perhaps at different times of the day, thus leaving room for that student video conference; or more likely leaving room for the many neighbors that are all watching Netflix because there's nothing else to do.

JoseQ's Look at this Thing

This is likely going to happen in the US as well. Most home networks aren't built for everyone being at home at the same time. During normal times, people have varying schedules, different tastes, and school does not require as much video conferencing. So maybe there's no H in the HDR when you watch Altered Carbon Season 2, or maybe you'll have to settle for 1080p instead of 4K. Hopefully that's as bad as it gets, because if we're swinging down to SD, then that's no bueno for anybody.

And Netflix is no dummy. Their biggest cost is bandwidth. Using lower bitrates means a few things: Lower cost per customer AND reaching more customers at an OK quality. When your stream stutters, that's bad business, so this will make it a smoother experience for everyone all the while lowering costs and/or creating more revenue. Smart business move.

tags:  Business   Movie   Netflix   Streaming   TV Show 

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last update March 25,2020
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