The Speedtest app for iOS has added a new data point for you to complain about to your internet provider.
Ookla, which makes Speedtest, announced on Monday that it has added a video streaming test, which tells you the best resolution to stream video content on all your devices without annoying buffers or hiccups.
The video test is entirely different than the standard speed test, which tells you how fast your connection is. Instead, as Ookla explains, the video test “plays an actual video to specifically measure the performance of video streaming on your network at any time,” which is necessary “because video traffic cannot be simulated across a network.” The video runs through a variety of resolutions, up to 4K, to judge which resolution is best given your wifi’s capabilities.
Of course, good video streaming is a must these days. The covid-19 pandemic has forced workers and students alike into an endless series of video calls, while the entertainment world has shifted its focus to streaming services, which have become overwhelmingly abundant. As many of us have been stuck at home over the past year, our streaming consumption has exploded, according to Nielsen findings.
“During second-quarter 2020, Americans watched more than 142 billion minutes of streaming video,” Nielsen wrote in an August 2020 report. It also found that “streaming consumption across all video options is up more than 74% from last year — accelerated by COVID-19 — signalling that streaming is now the present and future of content creation.”
You can find Speedtest’s new streaming analysis feature at the bottom of the screen within the app. Just click “Video” and hit the giant yellow play button in the middle. A video of what appears to be fibre optic cables will soothe you through the test, which you have to leave up and running for it to complete. (Don’t check a text in the middle, or you’ll have to start over again.) In the end, it’ll give you an assessment of your network’s streaming situation. For example, it recommended I only stream at a maximum resolution of 1440p, which is wonderful news since I just blew a few hundred dollars on a 4K TV and ditched cable for YouTube TV. Oh well!
The video streaming test is only available on Speedtest for iOS at the moment, but Ookla says it plans to roll out to other platforms in the future. If you already have Speedtest, just update the app and you’ll see the new feature. Otherwise, go download the app — it’s free! And a good tool to have the next time you need to negotiate your internet bill down a few dollars.