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Netflix Canada Cuts Video Streaming Quality

Light Reading
LR Cable News Analysis
Light Reading
3/29/2011
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Streaming video buzz dominates today's cable news roundup, including a move from Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) to help Canadian Web surfers stay below data usage caps.

  • In response to by-the-byte billing policies and monthly consumption caps used by Canada ISPs, Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) has introduced a feature that lets customers there adjust their video streaming quality settings, a move, the company claims, that will lower data usage by two-thirds on average. The changes, explained in this blog post, allow Canadian subs to toggle between "Good" quality (0.3 Gbytes/hour); "Better" (0.7GB/ hour); and Best (1.0 GB to 2.3 GB per hour, for select Netflix titles offered at HD quality). Netflix estimates that "Good," now the default setting, will let customers watch 30 hours of streaming in a month while consuming just 9GB of data, "well below most caps."

    So, is "Good" the new "Crappy" or the new "Good Enough"? (See O, Canada! Netflix Streaming Gets a Reprieve and Netflix Fears by-the-Byte Tiers .)

  • Looking for allies in its fight against usage-based broadband pricing, Netflix is "cozying up" to consumer advocate groups in D.C. such as Free Press , Media Access Project , Public Knowledge and Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. .

  • In a rare loss for the legal team at interactive program guide (IPG) giant Rovi Corp. , the United Kingdom's Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that three of the patents it was trying to assert in an infringement case against Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) were invalid. (See Rovi Disputes Ruling.)

  • Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is looking to make its mark in the streaming music business with the launch of Cloud Player, which allows users to upload music to Amazon servers and access songs through the Web or smartphones running Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android platform.

  • RealNetworks Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK) CEO Bob Kimball quit Monday, just one year after taking the job.

  • Online video advertising company Adap.tv raised another $20 million.

  • HDNet founder Mark Cuban is investing in online toy rental company Toygaroo, which bills itself as the "Netflix for toys."

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) says it'll expand its cloud computing services via its acquisition of software company newScale Inc. (See Cisco Pounces on newScale.)

  • After losing nearly half a billion dollars in 2009, revenue at Google's YouTube Inc. division has "grown dramatically." But there's some disagreement among analysts as to whether YouTube has turned a profit yet. (See Google Losing Big on YouTube.)

  • UPC Polska is keeping the Docsis 3.0 pedal to the metal, and now offers its 50Mbit/s and 120Mbit/s tiers to more than 1.3 million homes in Poland after launching them in Szczecin. The operator estimates that 75 percent of its network has been upgraded to D3.

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable, and Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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