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Netflix gets new mobile controls to help you avoid annoying data caps

by Todd Haselton | May 5, 2016May 5, 2016 10:20 am PST


Netflix on Thursday introduced new mobile data controls that will allow you to choose your stream quality, effectively helping you save data so that you don’t go over your monthly cap. By default, Netflix streams at a rate that consumes about 1GB of data for every 3 hours of content, the company said, and now that can be adjusted.

So, say you only have a few gigabytes per month to work with. If that’s the case, you can change the Netflix stream quality so that it uses a lower bitrate, allowing you to stream about 4 hours of content per 1GB of data. Or, if you want, you can prevent it from streaming at all until you’re on a Wi-Fi network. But, on the other hand, if you have a lot of data or want to be more cavalier with Netflix quality, you can boost the quality of the video. There are five total options to select from.

“We are always working on ways to improve picture quality while streaming more efficiently, so bitrates could change over time. As with all streaming, actual data usage can vary based on your device capabilities and network conditions,” Netflix director of product innovation Eddy Wu said. “Your mobile carrier also may impact the actual data usage even if you elect a higher setting in the Netflix app. This setting only affects data usage while viewing on your mobile device on cellular networks; streaming on Wi-Fi is not affected nor is streaming when tethered.”

The option is available on iOS and Android devices.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...