The Netflix Mobile App Will Use Less Data (Soon)

Netflix makes constant iterative changes to its movie and TV streaming platform. Some of those are small, and some are major; most don't make a huge difference to the way you watch videos though. A small change that might do exactly that for mobile users is on the way, though — a data saver option that doesn't go all-out on video quality, in order to save your previous mobile data.

Talking to Gizmodo at MWC 2016, Netflix's innovation team detailed a number of small but significant changes it has made in the year since Netflix launched — the way the home screen has evolved on smart TVs and web browsers, for one, shifting from a flat grid to large images and even video clips. That's part of a larger story, based on feedback from thousands of users and the aggregate data of A-B testing of new features to see if they have a positive impact on the number of videos watched, and of the number of Netflix subscribers that keep paying for a subscription after the changes have been made.

Lots of those changes are currently in testing, but there's one particularly useful one that is going to hit your account in the near future. Look at the image above for the details — Netflix is creating a new "data saver" opt-in option in its mobile apps for iOS and Android. Apple devices will get the feature first, but it'll roll out completely soon after. Data saving is an on-or-off thing, too, based on Netflix's own algorithms that it can adjust in the future rather than a specific bit-rate or resolution cap, which the company things might be confusing for mainstream users.

This is separate to the existing app's features for allowing HD playback — which uses more data, obviously, due to the higher bitrates required — and for Wi-Fi-only playback. It's also separate to the existing per-profile playback quality settings, which are global across web and smart TV and mobile devices. The new feature is still in beta, and might change visually a little before it hits your smartphone or tablet, but it's on the way in some form. We'll let you know exactly when it comes out. [Netflix]



    With the amount of VPN blocking going on, Netflix already is using less data...

    I've always thought it was strange to globally set the quality of the video, regardless of device or data connection.
    Of course I'd like HD on my wired home internet connection. Of course I'd like to be able to minimise data use when watching via 4G.
    I'm not sure these new settings are designed to completely fix this issue. I hope so.

    If only they'd start allowing pre-caching of data so you could watch it on the go without a network connection, then they would really be getting somewhere.

      Netflix has ruled that out many times, reckons it makes the app too complicated for the end user. That's a total lie, but that's their story and they are sticking to it.

        Pretty poor excuses from Netflix. People already do it with torrents, Plex implements it quite easily.

    I just use plex now and stream from my home PC, it gives you about 10 different quality settings for video, I've found I can comfortably watch something on my mobile at around 320kbps and barely use anymore data than spotify. I wish netflix would allow this sort of control over it but doubt they would.

    The ability to change your quality level while watching a video has been implemented in Stan and Presto for a long time.

    What took netflix so long? Another reason why i've cancelled my netflix.

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