Netflix Crowns FiOS the Streaming King

4:20 PM -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS now has bragging rights as the top video streaming U.S. broadband service provider after Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) separated out the performance of Verizon's and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s DSL and fiber-based connections and recrunched the data.

Netflix first published the results of this exercise in January, and cable cleaned up, with Charter Communications Inc. ranked highest, followed by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) ... and then Verizon, which was scored based on the combined results of its DSL and fiber-based services. (See Netflix Shames ISPs.)

"As promised, we’ve been able to separate AT&T and Verizon FTTx offerings from their DSL offerings," Netflix Director of Content Delivery Ken Florance wrote on the company tech blog. "The chart now gives a fairly complete look at performance on top networks, with additional insight into how different technologies (DSL, Cable, FTTx) impact potential throughput."

Verizon FiOS is now unsurprisingly on top, but it's also got the dubious honor of having the worst-performing DSL service of the pack, according to the latest Netflix ranking:

This is a fun exercise, but does it really mean much? If you were in the market to change or add a broadband service, how important is video streaming performance to your household? What tops your list of factors today? Is it speed? Price? The sweet sound of the sales rep's voice?

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

ravanelli 12/5/2012 | 4:51:12 PM
re: Netflix Crowns FiOS the Streaming King

I subscribe to a 1.5M package on Comcast and use Netflix streaming, and I'm sure many people elect to go with a cheap plan and still stream.  I think this graph may not reflect that many people choose to have "lower performance," and each providers' tiering options are different.

What would be a more fair comparison is to see the price/byte to see the real value to the customer.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:51:11 PM
re: Netflix Crowns FiOS the Streaming King

Might be another suggestion to send to Netflix to see if they can get even more granular with their performance reporting.  It was originally an ISP ranking that didn't break down DSL versus the more fiberlicious services, but likewise you'd expect subs who are taking a  wideband tier to do better than someone who's using a single-channel Docsis service. But I'd guess that the cable guys shouldn't have much to complain about here since they're still right up there at the top and blowing the doors off of DSL.

Had any issues w/the 1.5meg tier? figure you're alright if you're streaming to one device at a time, but suspect it could buckle if you were streaming Netflix to 2-3 devices at the same time. Maybe that's not the typical usage scenario now, but... JB

ravanelli 12/5/2012 | 4:51:11 PM
re: Netflix Crowns FiOS the Streaming King

It does surprisingly well, at 1.5Mb.  Playback starts quickly, and is steady.  In our household there's no contention for the bandwidth though.

The biggest thing I notice is my Nintendo Wii, over WiFi, actually has better picture quality than my Samsung DVD player, which is Ethernet--go figure.  

That being said, I recently decided to switch to a 2-DVD package since it's cheaper than their new combined streaming/1DVD package, and the streaming selection is pretty weak.  I love the convenience of streaming, but too many times I couldn't find something worth watching and ended up going for a DVD.  




msilbey 12/5/2012 | 4:51:10 PM
re: Netflix Crowns FiOS the Streaming King

There are so many factors that go into performance, I'd guess it's still hard to predict quality for any given user. Having gotten FiOS in July, I was initally impressed with Netflix streaming on my Roku, but performance suffered a month or two later - lots of video stalling and buffering. It seems to have gotten better again, but I can't tell you what's changed.

Related, there was an interesting presentation at the most recent Nanog conference (available online) pointing to router-induced latency and the impact on broadband performance. There can be significant variations in performance depending on which router you own. I wonder how many broadband complaints can be tracked back to in-home hardware issues versus ISP performance. 

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:51:09 PM
re: Netflix Crowns FiOS the Streaming King


I can tell you that we did not see routers as big a factor in home Internet performance as we did on PCs.  The amount of Spyware and Viruses installed is simply staggering.  FiOS technicians were having to clean up PC installations before they could get max speed.  How long it lasts depends on the user.


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