Netflix is trying to attract new Canadian subscribers to its streaming video service, adding new movies from Paramount yesterday. But adoption of the service might be limited by bandwidth caps that have caused Netflix to lower the default video quality setting for Canadian users.
Are students watching so much Netflix that fellow class members don’t have any bandwidth left to study? Officials at Ohio University think so, and they briefly instituted a complete ban on all Netflix video streaming on their campus network this week.
Are you an AT&T DSL customer who loves to watch Netflix? Then take it easy with the HD fare once AT&T’s new bandwidth caps kick in. Netflix users may hit the 150 GB cap with as little as three hours of streaming a day.
Canada’s Netflix users can expect cough up some extra cash starting March 1, thanks to regulation forcing smaller ISPs to bandwidth caps and overage charges. Bandwidth caps will be as low as 25 GB — unless growing public pressure will make regulators change their mind.
Verizon demoed an upcoming iPad app today that will allow FiOS subscribers to watch linear programming available on their TV screens also on tablet devices. The app is expected to be rolled out next year and Verizon expects all its content partners on board by launch.
Bandwidth caps might not affect many users now, but with services like Netflix streaming and Hulu Plus just gaining momentum, iSuppli warns that carrier plans to set limits on the amount of bandwidth consumers use could pose a threat to the emerging Internet TV segment.
It’s hard to get more indie than a show shot on $300 by a team of three friends, and thus give the crown to this five-episode drama, which features great cliffhangers and a cool polish that’ll appeal to any Bannen Way fan.
Canada’s Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has decided that incumbent Bell Canada can charge its wholesale ISP customers based on the bandwidth usage of their end users, as first reported by CBCNews.ca. This decision puts pressure on smaller ISPs that are using Bell’s network infrastructure to implement bandwidth caps similar to those the telco is imposing on its own customers, or significantly raise prices for unmetered accounts.
Bell’s new wholesale pricing structure includes bandwidth limits of as little as 2 GB per month for the lowest-priced wholesale DSL account and charges of as much as C$1.75 ($1.59) for each GB above that limit. Customers of resell ISPs will be able to subscribe to higher tiers if they’re wiling to pay more, but Bell’s highest cap stands at 60 GB per month. Good luck to all those Canadian HD video startups.
Read More about Bell’s New Bandwidth Caps Could Turn Canada Into an Oldteevee Wasteland
Bandwidth caps are forcing at least one startup to adjust its business. Last month when I was in Houston, I met Shion Deysarkar, chief marketing officer of Plura Processing, a company that harnesses the CPU cycles and bandwidth of participating gamers (it pays them up to $2.60 a month for use of 100 percent of the CPU cycles). We talked about the product built on top of Plura, an application called 80legs, which is basically a web crawling service for hire. 80legs, which is still in private beta, provides access to data for search sites, video indexing sites and anything else that wants to scour the web for data.
Through 50,000 Plura nodes, 80legs has access to between 5 and 10 gigabits per second of capacity, which is nothing to sneeze at. However, because of the looming worries about bandwidth caps and metered broadband, Brad Wilson, CEO of Plura, says the company has had to implement several safeguards to keep the users who provide the nodes from hitting a cap. Read More about 80legs Cares About Your Bandwidth Cap
We love the idea of streaming video over the Internet directly on our television sets. The issue is, when you stream video to your house, you open yourself up to problems you don’t get when you pop a DVD into your player.
It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out where the system can break down, but it’s a good reminder that streaming services are far from foolproof yet.
Consumerist has a story today about a Qwest (s Q) customer who believed her YouTube (s GOOG) watching was being hampered by the ISP. Though a Qwest rep denied throttling users (after initially saying it did), as our sister site GigaOM has reminded us, instituting bandwidth caps and metered access helps cable and telephone companies manage their networks while protecting their traditional video businesses.
Problems with video watching can arise for completely non-nefarious reasons as well. I later learned that my recent tribulations with Amazon’s (s AMZN) HD VOD service were caused by latency issues and excessive hops the data had to go through in order to reach me. (I only found that out after I got all reporterly and went through several rounds of back and forth with Comcast (s CMSCA), Amazon and Roku PR departments.)
Throw in CDNs, traffic congestion and the way information is routed from party to party and you almost start thinking it’s a miracle video gets to you at all.