Netflix redux (or should that be reduce?)

Posted: March 29, 2011 in software, technology
Tags: , , , , ,

People don’t like to be told what’s going to happen to their services, they like to be asked and have the option of making decisions for themselves.

best intentions?

Netflix should have realized this.  They sent out a blanket email that i’m sure they thought was a good idea but seems to just be creating an uproar from those that use the service.  Basically they are saying they are downgrading the quality of the movies and shows that you are watching in order to save bandwidth.  I’m sure the thinking was that since so many people have limited monthly data caps that by reducing the quality they can help reduce the overages that many people are experiencing.  Sounds good in theory.

The trouble is they are making a blanket decision to change the default quality that affects everyone.  What about those people that have no problems with their quotas?  People who only watch a couple of movies a week for instance.  That seems to be the part that people are missing and getting up in arms about.  If you read the email completely, Netflix is saying you have the ability to manage how much data you use.

manage your settings

When you sign into your account, you now have a new option to ‘Manage Video Quality’.  Within that tab you will see the three qualities offered.  Just choose the one that best suits your needs and try it out.  You can always change it later if you find the quality to be less than desirable, or conversely, better than you need. I set ours to the middle, figuring it should give the best of both worlds, a reasonable quality as a reasonable data usage rate.

set your preferred default quality

Remember this is  the maximum resolution you want to receive.  I say maximum because it will adjust up and down from this level depending upon available bandwidth you have at the time you are watching.

Quite often when the internet is being taxed heavily at our house the quality of the show adjusts automatically to compensate.

I can always tell when my kids are browsing the web or playing Club Penguin as I am trying to watch a movie since I get the “your network bandwidth has changed and we are adjusting video quality” message from Netflix.

I think it was a good move by Netflix to give us Canucks the ability to manage our usage a little better, it may just have come across as being a little heavy handed in the way they did it, but I do believe they had the best intentions.

The often misquoted… “the road to hell is paved with good intentions“… may be a bit harsh for this instance, so maybe Sitting Bull said it best… “I was very sorry when I found out that your intentions were good and entirely different from what I supposed they were.”

As I said before, the service is new and there are going to be bumps in the road, give it time and they should get fixed, and as Canadians we should be used to bumps and potholes in any road.


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