updated 04:40 pm EDT, Mon June 27, 2011
Netflix gives US users ability to choose quality
Netflix has now began offering US subscribers a video quality management feature in order to help them choose how much bandwidth their watching habits consume. This follows a similar move in Canada, where more Internet subscribers have caps that limit how much bandwidth users get per month. Unlike in Canada, however, most US ISPs don't charge for overages on a per-gigabyte basis, but rather throttle speeds of those who go over.
Netflix thus now offers three video quality settings, with what is being described as good quality taking up as much as 300MB per hour of programming, better quality using up as much as 700MB per hour and the best quality using up bandwidth at a rate of as much as 1GB per hour, unless the content is HD, in which case up to 2.3GB per hour can be used up. The default level is likely to be the highest quality. No matter what level users choose, their monthly Netflix fees won't change.
ISPs such as Comcast use a system that will kick users who regularly go over their monthly caps off, while AT&T charges overage fees. [via ConnectedPlanet]