Netflix Tackles Bandwidth Caps with More Efficient Video Encoding System

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Broadband Internet data caps may soon be less of a concern for Netflix users. The company has been working on cutting down the size of the video streams it serves to subscribers while also boosting the quality. The end result is higher quality video with a 20 percent reduction in how much data streams to your television.

Cable cutters rejoice: Netflix is boosting video quality & reducing bandwith usageCable cutters rejoice: Netflix is boosting video quality & reducing bandwith usage

Netflix has been working on its new algorithms for the past four years, according to Variety, and found videos could be encoded to be smaller without losing resolution. The end result was an image that Netflix's own people couldn't distinguish from the videos they were already streaming.

Part of the change was realizing that the type of show was more important than the available bandwidth. Cartoons with simple shapes and flat colors, for example, don't need to pack in as much video data as an action-packed summer blockbuster. Reprocessing videos based on type lets Netflix deliver 720p or 1080p quality videos to customers who previously received lower resolution streams.

That's good news for subscribers who routinely push up against their monthly broadband data caps. It's also good news for Netflix because the company is working on expanding into more countries in 2016. Many of those regions can't offer broadband speeds on the same scale as more developed countries, but Netflix will still be able to deliver video that doesn't look like a Minecraft adventure.

Netflix has already started delivering some video encoded with its new algorithms, and plans to finish reencoding its entire library in the first quarter of 2016.For heavy Netflix users, that means you should start seeing a noticeable reduction in your monthly data usage soon.

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Great content is a big part of competing in the streaming video market. Netflix's decision to deliver that content more efficiently and with lower bandwidth demands is a clever way to help set it apart, and better compete in markets with broadband speeds are much lower.

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Scott B in DC

What I like is that since the broadband companies are being a pain in the behind that Netflix is trying to get around their BRAVO SIERRA by out innovating them. There is no reason the broadband companies should be having capacity problems except for their own incompetence. Now here’s Netflix giving them the proverbial middle finger and saying, “give us lemons and we’ll make lemon aide.” Drink up cable companies… folks like Netflix will make your content irrelevant!

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