Netflix is today introducing a new way for users of its mobile apps to adjust the quality of video streams based on data usage. The new “cellular data controls” in the mobile apps include Low, Medium, or High settings.
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This allows users to limit the amount of mobile data being consuming based on an average number of hours of video per GB, as calculated by Netflix based on how it limits video quality under the new controls.
The Medium setting, for example, says you’ll get about 2 hours of video per GB, while the High setting will get you around 1 hour per GB and the Low setting about 4 hours per GB. There’s also an Unlimited option for those not on a capped data plan that don’t want to limit quality at all, and an “Off” setting to limit videos to Wi-Fi only.
A default setting is selected at first. Netflix says it thinks the default will be optimal for most users without unlimited data plans:
The default setting will enable you to stream about 3 hours of TV shows and movies per gigabyte of data. In terms of bitrates, that currently amounts to about 600 Kilobits per second. 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. If you have a mobile data plan with a higher data cap, you can adjust this setting to stream at higher bitrates. 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.
You can find the new cellular data controls in the latest version of the Netflix app under App Settings → Cellular Data Usage from within the app’s main menu.
The updated iOS app, version 8.4.0, also adds support for 3D Touch Quick Actions from the iPhone Home screen, allowing users to use the feature on supported iPhones (currently iPhone 6s and 6s Plus) to quickly access Continue Watching, Trending Now, My List, and Search functions from the app’s icon.
What’s New in Version 8.4.0
– 3D Touch support for Quick Actions from the Home screen – VoiceOver navigation improvements – Added controls to help you manage streaming data usage on cellular networks – Fixed issue with app not recognizing an internet connection is available – Bug fixes throughout