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Comments

Ken

I would LOVE it if I could control the streaming quality, especially if I could set a default (probably at "Good"), and override as desired on an individual basis. Most of what I watch looks fine on 2 dots (which is what "Good" appears to be); I'd much rather have consistent streaming than higher quality with hiccups. I mostly use Clear for my Internet access; some days it's fine, and some days 2 dots is about all I can muster.

John

Yes, this sounds like a great idea for mobile or other devices. It will also help with anyone on lower bandwidth. Go Netflix!!

Benjamin

This would be great. I have at&t and would love to be able to dial down the quality for streaming.

There's no need to be in HD when the kids are just watching cartoons. These look fine even at reduced quality.

This is also a win for Netflix. They don't have to send as much data to those that don't want it.

Lynne

Yes -- I have been using the Silverlight hack control of Cltrl+Shift+Alt+M to do it at 500. But it is tedious, I'd like a easier default way like Hulu.com which I have set at 288p. These settings work better with my AT&T DSL lite.

PS3 fanboi

Wow - Canada stinks...

VaHillbillie

I agree w/KEN-- I'd love to see settings of
Good
Better
Best
that I could choose at will.

Some nights on NF (from about 6PM until 11PM) I end up with buffering every 5-10 minutes! (and I'm on a--supposedly--5MB plan!) So when that happens I either turn off NF or watch a private channel on my Roku.

MOST nights at those same times 2 dots (on NF) is all I need anyway.

Brian

Absolutely. Netflix should get on this ASAP for U.S. customers who are about to get screwed by AT&T -- like me.

Complication

I'd like to be able to set a limit on the Roku box upstairs and leave the dynamic HD on the PS3 unaffected.

Bob E.

I think the real question should be "why don't US citizens have access to this?" I mean if they can code it, just do it, why are we even discussing if they should or not?

Like VaHillbillie I also have lousy service from about 8-10PM, and I'm on a 15MB which actually works at those speeds the other 22 hours every day. I won't even try to watch an HD program before 10PM.

nijaju

I wouldn't exactly call this fighting ISP caps as the title suggests. More like giong along with the ISP caps really.

What ticks me off most about this whole thing is that ISPs have for the longest time advertised unlimited internet. Now that the rubber meets the road and users can take advantage of that, they really don't want to deliver.

Del

They should offer any options to everybody. That way we can make the choice not them.

Nate

More like giong along with the ISP caps really.
---------
My thoughts exactly. I really hope this doesn't push my ISP the wrong way. "We're announcing data caps, but don't be alarmed, popular services like Netflix now allow you to control the data stream and on top of that we will send you notices when you near your quota...."

scout

I say no because it will only encourage more ISP's to do caps. I'd rather see ATT folks dump them and send message that we won't tolerate caps

ts

As far as buffering is concerned my experience may offer some insight. We have two Sony and a Samsung BR player all of which stream NF. Each of them gave me buffering problems and not always during peak hours although more frequently at those times. Then we got an LG/TV w/ NF capability. The difference is phenomenal. I can steam HD at any time and so far I've only experienced short buffering twice (both during peak). It didn't last long and it's so infrequent as to hardly matter. I mention this because after a lot of troubleshooting I believe many buffer issues can be traced back to substandard NF software in some devices. This does presume you have a high speed connection of course...20mbps in my case. It does stink having to buy new a new device, but it could be a solution. When I used a Roku box a few years ago it rarely buffered so that might be a cheap(er) solution.

scJohn

I'm not sure I would want to watch a "good" stream on 50" or greater screen.

4800 encode rate for 1080P. Not sure how that is going to play on those 60' screens either. 4800 is probably what they should be using for their 720P.

Davideo

Yes, the choice should be made available to all Netflix customers (including those using Roku). For example, on my small 17" set (which has HDMI and 720p), I went to my Roku settings, and selected "16:9 anamorphic" instead of 720p. This substantially reduced the bandwidth needed and on a small screen like this, there's no discernible reduction in picture quality. However most Roku users aren't aware of the benefit of doing this.

When travelling with a netbook or iPad or whatever... there's simply no need for a high-resolution stream... and deliberately limiting bandwidth can substantially improve the reliability and eliminate rebuffering

As streaming continues to rapidly grow in popularity, we should exercise reasonable care in how much bandwidth we're using - - because this ultimately translates into to cost and reliability issues for everyone.

Knaldskalle

Acquiescing to ISP bandwidth caps is the strangest way of "fighting" them I can think of.

Crow550

Caps are BS.

Were moving into a world where everything is online and they want to nickel & dime us.

More & more are doing online backups and such.

I doubt the networks are getting hit any harder though. People have been swapping files for years and some play games online 24/7 & such.

So no Netflix should not offer stream quality selections.

Cycledog

The streaming quality sucks to begin with! Oh great, so if I adjust the quality I can make the picture turn from total crap on my 60" TV to unwatchable S#@T!

Crow550

Well Netflix does have a trickle of 1080P content. I think the only device that currently supports it is the PS3.

Mitch

Standard doesn't look THAT bad on an HDTV as long as your play upconverts, which I believe the PS3 version does. The only ones that look really bad are ones that got poor streaming transfers, like some of the Carsey Werner series. I haven't had any trouble with rebuffering, but my TV and PS3 both are able to change the rates to keep it going smoothly.

Nate

I don't think this is as easy as some people here think (Or hope). From the article cited, it appears only streaming through Netflix's website via Canadian ISPs can you control the speed. Roku, Boxee Box, Xbox, Nintendo, PS3, Android and on and on and on... are separate beasts. It would be a technological feat of Hoover Dam proportions to get this rolled out in the U.S. across the board in a timely fashion.

Mrmanmac

@ts and Mitch... you may have something there. The only buffering issues i have ever had is watching Carsey Werner (That 70's Show) and only when watching on the Sony Blu Ray Player. Never had any issues with the Wii or the Xbox. I even went as far as upgrading my router to try and fix it, and had no luck.

Anyway..... if Netflix can slow down the stream for those users that need it what can it hurt to do it. Not everyone that uses Netflix requires HD/5.1/CC and are content just being able to watch this fancy new technology at all.

It may be bending to the ISP's and their bogus cap limits, but what are those users going to do while that battle rages? I would rather see Netflix do what they have to do to accomodate a paying customer. This may also be necessary in order for Netflix to build the company Internationally. Not every country out there has the Bandwith capability that we so take for granted in the US.

Tim

Get ready, America. This is coming here soon. So those of you who cut the cord or were thinking about it, think again. We're all slaves to these companies.

I, for one, want quality. I bought an HDTV to get the best picture I can. I don't want to watch low-quality standard def streams. In a pinch it will do, but not for most content.

Dave

Great news for those who don't have cable and aren't using DVRs. It's really making the best of a bad situation. Netflix can't force ISPs to open bandwidth. The government cannot or will not fight this.

Not an ideal situation here, but Netflix is at least starting to come up with options to keep streaming viable for everyone.

Chances are, caps will be universal in the United States. They may even become far more stringent than we're seeing now.

How much competition is there with the ISPs? And considering how much people want to use bandwidth, why would the few companies out there try to undercut each other when they could simply play the same game and rake in the cash.

Works for the energy companies, especially oil & gas.

FurryGuyJeans

If Netflix were to offer the ability to switch easily between bandwidth qualities on individual titles, letting each customer set a default if they don't want a change, then having different level of bandwidth usage is a great idea. Great for customers, who might not need HD for all the things they watch, and good for Netflix because less data to stream.

Abert Alexandre

Rumor has it here in Baltimore, Md that Verizon FIOS and Comcast will be reducing monthly bandwidth to 150GB which is still fairly good but not if you download applications and other large files. Comcast is complaining about losing many customers who now use streaming to watch movies and even TV series. More and more TV antennas are going up to watch news etc in HD and watching movie on Netflix who is the best provider of entertainment. If Obama gets his wish of everyone having free broadband at tremendous speeds comes through, people will never have to buy cable services. Have you ever visited a Comcast customer facility? It's like going to your local Post Office with the employees moving slow like Government workers. Jus my thoughts. Thank you Netflix

Japzone

If you have a Roku perform the Following Button Combo at 1/2 second intervals:
HOMEx5
FASTFORWARDx3
REWINDx2

This brings up Roku's secret Bitrate Settings Menu. Allowing you to change the Max Stream the Roku should try to obtain. This is a godsend on my Beach House's slow DSL with it constantly buffering between 3 and 2 dots. I usually keep it at the lowest setting giving me a 2dot stream and allowing me to surf the net at the same time. The only downside is that the setting is wiped with every boot/reboot.

cryption

I would love to determine how much bandwidth my Netflix uses. I just got a nasty letter from Suddenlink (Texas) in the mail complaining about my high bandwidth usage.

It's not just Canada Anymore. Comcast has a 250gb limit and AT&T has a 150gb limit.

Gir

The key sequence for the Roku bit rate screen is HOME5-RW3-FF2. I have it programmed into my Harmony remote (as two sequences: HOME5 and RW3-FF2). I use it all the time.

The HOME5-FF3-RW2 sequence brings up a different secret screen (test/debug?).

[For anyone who's interested, when the Roku initially fills it's buffer, it uses all the bandwidth it can get. I set my bit rate to 600 kbps in the Roku secret screen, then watch my router peg the needle on my DSL line (3 mbps) for a couple of minutes before settling back to roughly 600 kbps. I assume this initial peak is the Roku filling its buffer.]

Gir

@cryption - if you have a router that supports it (provided you own your own router) install Tomato. It's bandwidth tracking features are pretty good. It'll let you see usage real-time, usage for the past 4,6,12,18 and 24 hours, and daily/weekly/monthly usage.

It might even be worth it to buy a router that supports Tomato if you don't already have one.

Erick

I know I need this, I live in rural Idaho and the internet speeds don't go over 80-150 KB/ps. Besides, I rather watch lower quality than waste 30 minutes just on random buffering.

VisualFeast

Actually I'd also like to see an 'Extreme' setting. This would help to make my 67-inch happy with PS3 1080p content.

It's always eye-opening when putting in a Blu-ray after watching HD streaming, which I get used to after a while. Then Blu-ray reminds me how much quality is lost, both video & audio.

Julie

I would love to have this. Comcast caps us already, and we have to be very careful with our streaming. I would like to be able to choose the quality for each program. Some things are only worth watching at the very highest quality, but most day-to-day watching would be fine at a lower bit rate

buffler

My streaming has very recently gone sour. At 1.3 M download, the streaming seemed to work OK, not HD but I can't use it anyway. But now there are pauses for loading that are unacceptable. I've checked speed, and my speed hasn't gotten less. I'm informed by NFLIX tech line that I need 1.5 solid to get anything useable. What's changed? Not my ISP or carrier that I cna determine.

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