Netflix mobile streaming now uses less data

By Staff Writer | 06 Feb 2020 at 17:48hrs
Netflix has announced it is switching to a new codec for video streaming on its Android mobile app.

This is good news for data-constrained South Africans, as Netflix said the codec will consume less data, providing 20% improved compression efficiency over its VP9 encoding.

The company previously told MyBroadband that one hour of streaming on the Netflix app consumes around 250MB of data.

Should the new compression rate live up to its promise, this would result in a reduction of about 50MB. A 1GB data bundle would then be able to provide an additional hour of streaming.

Netflix plans to roll out the codec on all its platforms, but regards AV1's compression rate as a "good fit" in the mobile space, since cellular networks can be unstable and data plans limited.

"As codec performance improves over time, we plan to expand our AV1 usage to more use cases and are now also working with device and chipset partners to extend this into hardware."
Work on the codec

Netflix said the development of the codec is the result of a collaborative effort.

"Our AV1 support on Android leverages the open-source dav1d decoder built by the VideoLAN, VLC, and FFmpeg communities and sponsored by the Alliance for Open Media," the company said.

The codec could eventually be used by other streaming services.

"In the spirit of making AV1 widely available, we are sponsoring an open-source effort to optimize 10-bit performance further and make these gains available to all," Netflix said.

AV1 is currently streaming with select titles. To enable streaming via the codec, Netflix app users must enable the "Save Data" feature.



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