Netflix Launches Mobile Data Controls to Help Users Manage Viewing
Netflix users who watch streaming videos on their mobile devices across cellular connections now have a new mobile data control tool that can help protect them from blowing over their mobile plan's data caps.
The cellular data control tool, which has been integrated into the latest Android and iOS versions of the Netflix mobile app, allows users to better control how much data they are consuming when their devices are connected directly to cellular networks, according to a May 5 post by Eddy Wu, the company's director of product innovation, on the Netflix Blog.
Without such usage controls, Netflix viewers could risk consuming more data than permitted by their mobile phone plans, which could lead to expensive data overage charges. The controls allow users to consume Netflix video at lower quality settings when customers are directly using cellular connections, when their usage can be more expensive. The default setting for the new feature will let users stream about 3 hours of TV shows and movies per gigabyte of data, at a rate of about 600 kilobits per second, according to Wu's post.
"Our testing found that, on cellular networks, this setting balances good video quality with lower data usage to help avoid exceeding data caps and incurring overage fees," he wrote. "If you have a mobile data plan with a higher data cap, you can adjust this setting to stream at higher bit rates. Our goal is to give you more control and greater choice in managing your data usage whether you're on an unlimited mobile plan or one that's more restrictive."
The controls, which were announced in March, aim to balance video quality and data cap limits when viewing videos on cellular connections.
This controls only affect data usage while customers are viewing video on mobile devices using cellular networks, he added. Streaming on WiFi or when using a tethered connection is not affected by the lower bit rate settings.