(Source: Digital2Disc)
Netflix is stepping up to make Canadian members' lives easier by lowering data usage by two-thirds

Netflix announced yesterday that it would reduce data usage for its Canadian members in an effort to comply with data caps in this area. Neil Hunt, chief product officer at Netflix, made the announcement on the Netflix Blog allowing Canadians to enjoy video streaming through Netflix without data cap worries.

Canadians have experienced recent troubles regarding data, such as the CRTC's decision to end unlimited use internet plans. Many Canadian ISPs "enforce monthly caps on the total amount of data consumed." In addition, AT&T is looking to place new data caps on DSL and U-Verse customers here in the U.S. 

Now, Netflix is stepping up to make Canadian members' lives easier by lowering data usage by two-thirds. According to Hunt, Canadians can now watch 30 hours of Netflix video streaming per month and use only 9 GB of data. Before the data reduction, 30 hours of video streaming would use 70 GB of data. 

Hunt also noted that the reduced data has only a small impact on video quality, but the picture continues to be satisfactory. In fact, a Netflix member can adjust data usage and picture quality with three settings that Netflix created. 

The three settings are "Good," which is the default setting with the low data use per hour of 0.3 GB; "Better," which has better picture quality and uses 0.7 GB per hour, and "Best," which has the highest picture quality and uses 1.0 GB per hour or 2.3 GB per hour when streaming HD. 

The "Good" option allows 625 kbps/64kbps of video/audio while the "Better" option limits video/audio to 1300 kbps/192 kbps and the "Best" option can use up to 4800 kbps/384 kbps for 1080p HD video and 5.1 audio. For non-HD content, the "Best" option would limit video/audio to 2200 kbps/192 kbps. With these settings, the "Good" option would use up to 9 GB for 30 hours of content while "Better" would use less than 20 GB and "Best" would use less than 67 GB.  

No matter which setting you choose, Netflix will stream additional data as a buffer when content starts. Also, start, stop, rewind and seek activity increases the data Netflix streams, but it will amount "to less than a few minutes' worth."

In addition, Netflix adaptive streaming may reduce the data rate stream for those with lower speed, or to decrease interruptions in case of congestion.  

Netflix plans to improve its streaming service without the use of large amounts of data. In the meantime, members can adjust their settings by going to "Your Account" and the "Manage Video Quality" page. 

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