Netflix to Allow Mobile Customers to Set Video Quality Lower, Risks Brand Problem

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Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) will allow customers who use the service on mobile devices to set the amount of data they use when streaming video. People with low data plans may well get much worse video quality if they want to save money. For those who do not consider the price of data as important, video quality will be higher, if they set their data consumption ratings allow for it.

Netflix management wrote:

The data saver feature will provide members with more control over their data usage when streaming on mobile networks, allowing them to either stream more video under a smaller data plan, or increase their video quality if they have a higher data plan. We’re on track to make it available to members sometime in May.

We believe restrictive data caps are bad for consumers and the Internet in general, creating a dilemma for those who increasingly rely on their mobile devices for entertainment, work and more. So in an effort to protect our members from overage charges when they exceed mobile data caps, our default bitrate for viewing over mobile networks has been capped globally at 600 kilobits per second. It’s about striking a balance that ensures a good streaming experience while avoiding unplanned fines from mobile providers.


Netflix may find that users object to low quality video, even if it saves them money. As such, Netflix brand perception is on the line in a way that may not favor the streaming media company.

Did someone say “cancel my subscription because I can’t see the movie”?