Netflix viewers looking to binge another hit TV series or settle in for a cosy movie marathon have been delivered some great news. If you’ve been tuning in to Netflix ever since nations across the globe were placed in lockdown then you might have noticed something different. Back in March, the world’s most popular streaming service announced there were temporarily reducing video quality slightly in Europe.
This was to help internet service providers (ISPs) that were seeing increased demand as scores of people had to turn to their home broadband to work from home.
Netflix said by lowering picture quality it would help reduce the service’s overall data consumption by a quarter.
However, they did reassure subscribers that movies will still be available in high definition or ultra-high definition.
Netflix wasn’t the only one who made this call, with Amazon Prime and YouTube also pledging to reduce streaming quality.
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The move came after EU commissioner Thierry Breton asked streaming giants to lower quality to ensure ISPs didn’t buckle under the added pressure they were facing.
But now it looks like there are signs that – for some at least – it’s beginning to look like business as usual once again.
Flat Panels HD in a post online revealed they have received “many” reports from Netflix users in Europe that streaming quality has been restored.
The site had received reports from Netflix subscribers in Germany, Norway, Denmark and other European countries about the improved streaming quality.
The Netflix users have reported 4K HDR streaming has gone back to 15 Mb/s bitrate with HD bitrates also reverting back to normal.
But Flat Panels HD warned that the changes are not universal yet, with their tests showing TVs in their region have 4K HDR streaming capped at a maximum of 7.62 Mb/s.
In a statement, Netflix said they are working with ISPs to improve capacity and that progress has been made improving the situation.
They said: “Please note, we are working with ISPs to help increase capacity. In the last month alone we have added four times the normal capacity. As conditions improve we will lift these limitations”.
Elsewhere, in a post online Forbes reported that Netflix users in the UK are yet to see the benefits of these improvements to streaming quality.
They said in Blighty the Netflix bitrate continues to be limited to a maximum of 7.62 Mb/s.
There are a number of factors which influences how much data is used when a movie or boxset is streamed.
One of these is video resolution (i.e whether content is in HD or 4K) and the other is bitrate.
With the latter the higher the bitrate, the clearer and smoother a picture can look.
Lower bitrate can lead to pictures appearing more pixelated than usual.
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