Netflix Canada announced that starting today movies and TV shows in Canada will now use up two thirds less data than previously. According to the email sent to users, the change was made because of the low data caps of Canadian ISP’s. “We know that many of our Canadian members have monthly Internet data caps. This new default account setting will significantly reduce the amount of data Netflix delivers to you each month.”
Coupled with recent content deals with Paramount, Netflix is starting to look a little more attractive north of the border. It’s clear that they are taking the market very seriously, and trying whatever they can to stay competitive.
As an example, 30 hours of Netflix watching will now use up only 9GB of data, where previously it would have typically consumed 31GB. That’s well within most ISP plans’ data caps.
Decreased data usage comes at a cost to quality, however. In order to achieve a lower rate, the quality of the video stream has to go down. With the changes, users can now adjust quality settings from their account page. Netflix Canada subscribers can choose from three settings, Good (0.3GB per hour), Better (0.7GB per hour) and Best (up to 1GB per hour, or 2.3GB per hour for HD). For you more geeky readers, here’s a breakdown of the data streaming rates for each setting:
Good – limits video/audio to 625 kbps/64 kbps
Better - limits video/audio to a maximum of 1300 kbps/192 kpbs
Best – (the old setting) uses any of the video/audio rates available. The highest quality files are 4800 kbps (for 1080p HD video) and 384 kbps audio (for 5.1 audio). However, the effective video/audio upper limit for non-HD content is 2200 kbps/192 kbps.