back to article Netflix starts 30-day video data diet at EU's request to ensure network availability during coronavirus crisis

Netflix will reduce the quality of its streaming videos in Europe in response to the European Commission's request on Thursday that streaming services and telecom operators throttle their data streams to avoid overloading the internet. The concern is that with COVID-19 keeping so many people in their homes, extra demand for …

  1. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Hmm which uses more data, downloading a spreadsheet to pretend I'm doing some work or streaming a video in HD? I can't really see how everyone working from home is going to put a bigger strain on the network than the most popular night for staying in to Netflix and chill does.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Because at home, I can have a spreadsheet on one monitor and Netflix the another. Not something I can do at the office.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        @katrinab

        Then don't do that. While you are being paid to work, work.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You are so clever.

          You just realised you can post that response to all 300 million people plus working in the EU area, and convince them to obey you?

          1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

            Re: You are so clever.

            There's a pandemic happening, it's real. What you've pretty much said is that everyone is stupid, has no self control, and can't use resources sensibly. I know we've seen panic buying of toilet roll and tinned goods, but really, do you need to panic stream Netflix when you're suposed to be working? Somebody else has to manage us, because we can't behave ourselves in a crisis? That we are sheep?

            If we can't act sensibly during this crisis we've really quite failed as a society. I have higher expectations of people than you, but feel free to carry on holding those 300 million people in contempt.

            1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

              Re: You are so clever.

              Quite simply, I wouldn't be *ABLE* to focus on a streaming video series/movie and still be able to focus on troubleshooting difficult OpenStack deploys. Of course, having worked remote for a few years now, I've already learned that.

            2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

              Re: If we can't act sensibly during this crisis we've really quite failed as a society

              But we have failed as a society. We are selfish, we raise our kids to be consumers, we elect blithering idiots who can't see farther than their next election, and we are ready to blame all the foreigners for everything we aren't doing right.

              Yet, somehow, society endures.

              Amazing, isn't it ?

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: You are so clever.

              You have higher expectations? Great. I also hope they will. Your post wont reach them here though. So you are still complaining to the choir, and not to those actually making the error.

              But go on painting us with the brush, while ignoring those who are getting slaps on the wrists, or putting others safety in peril.

            4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
              Stop

              Re: You are so clever.

              Never let a good crisis go to waste!

              The internet was designed to be able to cope with this kind of stuff. Netflix, et al. already run on largely private networks until pretty much the last mile because the main internet exchanges couldn't cope with 4k streaming at the best of times. ISPs already run traffic-shaping and QoS on their networks.

              The systems that are falling over are because of understandably overloaded company and provider networks. Would help though if Microsot disabled video by default on Teams. People have been asking for this since they dumped it on the world…

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: You are so clever.

                Nice to see the government doing something about profiteering if only at a consumer level.

                Now they just need to find those posting the hoarded products online and then perhaps I might be able to buy a meal without having to walk more than 15 miles.

            5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: You are so clever.

              "If we can't act sensibly during this crisis we've really quite failed as a society. "

              Since you posted that, at about 5pm Boris Johnson announced the closure of all the pubs. Before 6pm the the supermarket beer shelves where stripped bare. Yeah, it looks like a fail to me. At least by a significant part of society.

        2. Persona Silver badge

          If like my daughter you "worked" in the business travel industry you would appreciate that there is only so much work you can find to do.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ..he posted, 9am on a Friday morning when he is probably meant to be working himself.

        4. jospanner

          How about no.

      2. LucreLout Silver badge

        Because at home, I can have a spreadsheet on one monitor and Netflix the another. Not something I can do at the office.

        The problem this causes is also that the drop off in productivity if enough people do this will be noticeable, leading to loss of revenue and furloughing or redundancy of staff.

        I'm genuinely doing the level best I can for everyone in my division at work, but I'm not a miracle worker, and the thing that gives the greatest number of us the greatest chance of working through the downturn and subsequent depression, will be to keep doing our jobs to the fullest of our ability now, on week 1 (or 2 depending on how you count).

        If people put their feet up, even one foot, then they may cause problems for everyone, including themselves. I may be working from home, but my working day has expanded to throw off childcare disruptions at home, so I'm now working for 10-12 hours routinely.

        I'm not a doctor, or a nurse, so the only thing I can do to help the country is to pull my weight at work, try to minimize the economic damage as much as I can, and to ensure the company comes out of the other side of this in the best position it can to continue to employ people and pay taxes.

        Or, you know, I could coast and catch up on Netflix. FFS.

    2. revenant Silver badge

      Perhaps it's because they foresee more people at home looking after children with schools closed, thus increasing streaming load and getting in the way of teleworking.

    3. Zolko
      Holmes

      "Hmm which uses more data, downloading a spreadsheet to pretend I'm doing some work or streaming a video in HD?"

      and where do you put "doing video-conference meeting for work with 5 people" ? Same question for school, family assistance...

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        @Zolko Nobody really needs to video conference, voice only works just fine.

        1. Robert Grant Silver badge

          I've found it quite hard to get hold of a good screen reader that can describe a presentation, some code or similar in under 5 hours, and have had to resort to video. What can you recommend?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            presentations for voice only meetings

            If you are talking about presentations for voice only meetings then perhaps sending a copy of the presentation and just saying slide X so everyone with a clue and an attention span can see the correct slide.

            Alternatively you could always just do a report via email saving everyone's time. Presentations take far longer to relay information than just reading a report. Additionally for those who understand the topic and can read then reports allow you to provide the redundant waffle for those that need it i.e. managers who got their job because the boss also doesn't understand the business they are in, they are after all the only ones that think presentations are useful beyond sales.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Having done about 30 hours of video conferencing over the last 5 days I can definitely say that a well set up video conferencing system (especially with a decent 360 degree meeting camera at the 'meeting' end) if way, way better than voice only. Seeing peoples reactions, seeing when they are looking through notes (rather than just silence thinking the line has dropped), allowing people to raise a hand when they need to speak, recognising who is speaking from seeing them so they don't have to say their name before speaking, see when someone is reaching for the unmute button before they speak so you can wait a sec etc

          I find conferencing tiring, I find telephone conferencing painfully tiring, video conferencing slightly less so.

      2. SkippyBing Silver badge

        My work video conferencing is not at the resolution where 5 people will match an HD stream. Also we've all turned it off because there's nothing more off-putting than seeing a co-workers face in close up. Saves getting dressed to.

    4. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Not actually sure what all the downvotes are for... It's already been stated by ISPs that the data use has increased, but peak usage hasn't - that it just peaks throughout the day, instead of just in the evening.

    5. boxplayer

      It's not spreadsheets, it's teleconferencing replacing face-to-face meetings that's chewing bandwidth.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First they came for ...

    ... the Cat Videos.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey, no fair!

    What about my 4K tentacle porn?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about my 4K tentacle porn?

      Just film your own tentacles.

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Hey, no fair!

      What about my 4K tentacle porn?

      Just stare at this (**NSFW**) and pretending it's moving? (who'd have expected tentacle pr0n to go back to 1814? when he wasn't doing pix of Mt Fuji)

    3. Montreal Sean

      Re: Hey, no fair!

      Porn that has 4000 tentacles?

      That's a lot!

  4. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Not having a TV I shall assume this is an opportunity for aerial territorial television --- not using bandwidth --- to flood the airwaves with stupendous programmes of great value and fascinating beauty to smash the streaming networks.

    1. Dave Schofield

      >Not having a TV I shall assume this is an opportunity for aerial territorial television --- not using bandwidth --- to flood the airwaves with stupendous programmes of great value and fascinating beauty to smash the streaming networks.

      (Un)fortunately, most TV shows are wrapping up shooting for a period of time until the situation improves. It might be a diet of repeats shortly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Mainly it's only the repeats that are any good on netflix!

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          But Netflix has kittehs!

          Mainly it's only the repeats that are any good on netflix!

          It sometimes has interesting documentaries. Like the odd case of a Canadian who progressed from killing cats to humans, and posted his activities online. Or a new one about the strange case of 'Joe Exotic', a zoo owner who went from tiger breeder to murder-for-hire.

          Then again, it also managed to butcher and wokeify the second series of Altered Carbon.

          But does this mean a 25% reduction in subscription charges? Or will Netflix (and Amazon) ever find the time to add a 'don't show me ths carp' filter option to screen out stuff I have no interest in watching.

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: But Netflix has kittehs!

            It sometimes has interesting documentaries. Like the odd case of a Canadian who progressed from killing cats to humans,

            Now, most people would classify an 'interesting documentary' as something along the lines of that recent BBC epic on the Planet.

            Stuff about Canadian cat-killers evolving into human-killers just sounds like car-crash television.

            Go read a white-paper or watch an 8 hour webinar on crotchet to punish yourself.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: But Netflix has kittehs!

              Now, most people would classify an 'interesting documentary' as something along the lines of that recent BBC epic on the Planet.

              I prefer non-fiction..

              Stuff about Canadian cat-killers evolving into human-killers just sounds like car-crash television.

              Well.. Netflix is on the Internet, the Internet is full of cats, therefore I mentioned cats. But that doc was morbidly fascinating because it started when some Internet sleuths discovered the kitten killing videos and wanted to do something & track the person down. And found difficulty in getting law enforcement interested, at least till the nutjob moved onto human victims. From an IT angle, helping track down that kind of thing was something I'd want to help with, or just advise wrt packaging evidence to get law enforcement interested. But that part happened via Facebook, so I'd be blissfully unaware. Highlighted the challenges LEO's have dealing with that kind of crime though.

              I watched some of the Joe Exotic story at the weekend, and that doc's currently #1 in the UK ratings. Also strangely fascinating in highlighting problems in the US with exotic pet ownership. Like there being more tigers in the US than probably RoW, where they're meant to be native. Plus confirms some of my beliefs. There are cat people, there are crazy cat people, therefore the larger the cat, the larger the crazy. And I also found myself siding with PETA wrt exotic pet ownership, and better regulation of private tiger mills aka 'zoos'.

          2. d3vy Silver badge

            Re: But Netflix has kittehs!

            "Or will Netflix (and Amazon) ever find the time to add a 'don't show me ths carp' filter option to screen out stuff I have no interest in watching"

            You could just... you know... Not press play on the things you don't want to watch.

            1. Swiss Anton

              Re: But Netflix has kittehs!

              Possibly, but Netflix do automatically show a preview of their latest and greatest on the home page. Something I find very annoying and I haven't found a way of disabling it.

            2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: But Netflix has kittehs!

              You could just... you know... Not press play on the things you don't want to watch.

              It's not that simple. Challenge is to find something I might want to watch. So Netflix and Prime have featured content where you often have to scroll both down and across in the hope that there'll be something new/interesting. Not for example-

              Prime Could this BE more nostalgic?

              From Amazon, which is one if it's many ways to try to upsell repeats. At least with Amazon I can delete stuff from my "Watch Next" list, but with Netflix, if you make the mistake of watching a bit of something, it'll be there forever. Not sure if the cunning plan is to feature the same programme in 37 different categories to pad things out, or they've just copied from broadcasters. They never liked giving users control of their EPGs either.

              1. mrmond

                Re: But Netflix has kittehs!

                " At least with Amazon I can delete stuff from my "Watch Next" list, but with Netflix, if you make the mistake of watching a bit of something, it'll be there forever. "

                So go to your account activity history and click remove from watch history, it gets removed within 24 hours and doesn't get used for recommendations or as a show you've watched unless you watch it again.

                DON'T use the option to hide an entire series in one go. It never works and I've raised the issue with them time and again. You need to remove each show if it's part of a series one at a time for it to work properly.

      2. Kane Silver badge
        Joke

        "It might be a diet of repeats shortly."

        Shortly?

      3. Swiss Anton

        Not sure how long it will be before the TV channels start to go blank, at least the commercial ones. They carry a lot of adverts for holidays & travel, new cars and many other things that people aren't now buying. No advert revenue, no TV, not even repeats. Could El Reg go the say way?

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Trollface

          Could El Reg go the say way?

          I presume the annual DevOps love-in has been cancelled?

        2. Korev Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          >No advert revenue, no TV, not even repeats. Could El Reg go the say way?

          I suspect a significant number of visitors here are using an adblocker anyway

        3. rcxb Bronze badge

          Advertisments are negotiated on long-term contracts, so the advertisements won't change, and broadcasters won't be coming up short for quite a while.

          There is always somebody else that wants to advertise, if the price is right and they've got a large, possibly captive audience to reach... Right now it might be companies selling online services, Coca-Cola, takeaway restaurants, etc. Anybody that's still operating and isn't over-capacity / out-of-stock on their merchandise.

      4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        When they re-start production, the audience will be treated to no end of COVID-19 storylines. Costume departments will already be ordering plenty of PPE/Masks for those on TV

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Well. I'm using a FM (no digital ones yet) radio to avoid to add bandwidth usage to stream the same programmes...

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Not having a TV I shall assume this is an opportunity for aerial territorial television --- not using bandwidth

      But ever since the switchover to digital TV broadcast, we don't get any signal...

      "How many broadcast channels do we have?"

      "None"

      "None? Did you count them?"

      "Yes, twice."

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Dad's Army could make a comeback.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Seen more than a few episodes of Dads Army, Porridge, and Allo, Allo in the last six months. My vote would be to repeat Eastenders and Dallas from the start. Showing my age there.

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Dad's Army could make a comeback.

        With the call out to recently retired Doctors and Nurses to help out...

        Doctor Manwaring: Give this man an enema

        Nurse Jones: They don't like it up 'em!

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Don't panic! Don't panic!

  5. Simple Simon

    What about the CDN?

    It seems like a great idea to be sensible about consuming bandwidth, but I don't understand this measure.

    Netflix have a pretty cool CDN (search: Netflix Open Connect) - of which they are very proud. It intelligently caches content very close to the edge at "hundreds of ISPs". So, when you're streaming from Netflix, you're not really streaming over the internet at all - you're streaming from a server in your local exchange.

    Is this more about people streaming over mobile networks - where even when the Open Connect server might be in the telco's data centre, there may still be congestion on "the last mile" to the handset?

    This is a genuine question. Does anybody know why this is a measure worth taking?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: What about the CDN?

      No, I imagine they have just done it for laughs.

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: What about the CDN?

      I think this is more about being seen to do something, than the something actually mattering. Streaming services automatically adjust quality depending on bandwidth, so if a household os battering it's Internet connection that's going to happen anyway, and if bandwidth were an issue, I'd expect ISPs to step in and ration all traffic, not just one provider to throttle one source. We'd need all the streaming services to pitch in if we expect endpoints to solve this 'problem' so, NowTV, Prime, iPlayer, all eth freeview catch up services, etc etc.

    3. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: What about the CDN?

      This is a genuine question. Does anybody know why this is a measure worth taking?

      Because most broadband networks are sold on a contended basis. Buying a 70Mb connection doesn't guarantee you 70Mb of backhaul from the cabinet to the exchange or from the exchange to the head-end or regional core, which is where CDN and OpenConnect appliances will live. At one time cabinet contention of 25:1 was common, so if 25 of you bought a 30Mb connection, you were sharing 30Mb of capacity out of the cabinet - and just over 1Mb each doesn't go that far these days.

      If all the kids are streaming Netflix in UHD, that can impede their teleworking neighbours who are trying to use VOIP, video conferencing or remote desktop infrastructure (or indeed trying to wrangle large files down from company filestores which would normally be on the office LAN). Encouraging Netflix to cap streams at HD (for instance) is eminently sensible.

      It's the cabinets and exchanges which are likely to become saturated rather than the IXPs or Network Cores.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about the CDN?

        I'm not sure if the 25 to 1 ratio is correct but it feels like it and it seems to me that other European countries use a much lower ratio.

        As others have said it also makes a difference how close Netflix caches are to you.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: What about the CDN?

          'm not sure if the 25 to 1 ratio is correct but it feels like it and it seems to me that other European countries use a much lower ratio.

          As others have said it also makes a difference how close Netflix caches are to you.

          Depends on provider/cost. Main thing is broadband networks generally aren't IP at the network/transmission level. So congestion points become a function of that design. So a typical network might use L2TP from a LAC(L2TP Access Concentrator) to LNS(L2TP Network Server). In a smaller/wholesale network, those may be combined or shared, ie the LAC in the exchange, the LNS in the ISP's datcentre. Individual users connect to the LAC, then tunnel to the LNS, then enter the IP world where the LNS is plugged into routers. In an LLU model, the ISP runs their own LACs in exchanges.

          Contention issues generally arise on the backhaul connections between LAC & LNS, which is where a lot of the cost comes in, so pressure to contend. Sometimes that's 'encouraged' by the wholesaler, ie 40x contention between outsourced LAC, and SP's LNS. Or it can be a simple business decision, ie how many 10Mbps connections can you flog before the 1Gbps LNS connection's saturated, and customers scream. Or the cost of upgrading LAC-LNS circuits from 1-10-100Gbps, which can be eyewateringly expensive.. And Netflix doesn't contribute towards.

          Then things change if broadband's delivered via Ethernet, which simplifies some aspects and costs (ie simple switches vs expensive LAC/LNS) but still shares some of the same model, ie access concentrators/aggregators backhauled to PoPs.. Which can get further complicated by the way backhaul circuits are delivered, so networks switching from T/WDM nailed-up capacity to packet based Ethernet cores, which allows core capacity to be contended. So potential capacity for contention/congestion at both L2 and L3*

          Then there's the IP stuff, so managing congestion at that level, which IP doesn't do very well. And of course more costs. So peering/transit connections going from 1-10-100Gbps, or NxGbps. Sometimes ports can be bonded, otherwise having 2x100Gbps links to Netflix might mean one is maxed out, the other isn't because IP sucks at congestion avoidance, BGP especially so and it's not a done thing to run an IGP across an external link. Which can lead to FUN, like congestion causing BGP keepalives to drop, causing the entire link to drop and then everything bounces merrily until flap-dampening kicks in*.

          Then there's the application stuff, ie how users connect to Netflix and where that content is. Which ISPs don't have much control over, and as some content provider's use AWS, might mean non-business traffic contending with business traffic at that end. But that's also where most of the 'Net Neutrality argument hides, ie ISPs having no control/revenue from the traffic that's generating the cost/problems.

          *That's not a pron reference, although pornographic terms can be common whilst wrestling recalcitrant routers.. rubber chickens can only get you so far..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What about the CDN?

            So what you are saying is, the marketing is misleading

            We buy 70Mb from ISP

            But the small print says we must not use the whole 70Mb on <data of our choosing> without paying some more because of <anti net neutrality argument here>.

            Anyway, this move by EU is really testing my commitment to Remain. Could be the last straw!!!

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: What about the CDN?

              So what you are saying is, the marketing is misleading

              We buy 70Mb from ISP

              It's more that the reality is confusing. You buy 'up to' 70Mbs from your ISP..

              But the small print says we must not use the whole 70Mb on <data of our choosing> without paying some more because of <anti net neutrality argument here>.

              Depends. One of my favorite websites was a web cam in Antarctica. Not sure why, but might just be cos it's possible. But if you expect an end-end 70Mbps between you and the bottom of the world.. There are some obstacles in the way. Like cost. Which might be why staff overwintering down under can't have Netflix, or just fill discs with stuff to watch on the assumption that MPAA laywers won't visit, and if they do can simply be shot for being suspected Norwegians. I think this may also be why Kurt Russell hasn't visited there.

              But I digress.

              So reality is ISP's can't guarantee capacity to anywhere outside their own network, and if you wanted a guaranteed 70Mbps between any endpoints of your choice, it'd cost an awful lot more than £20/month. And 'net neutrality just means the Internet rermains a best-efforts network until that mess finally gets sorted out.

        2. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: What about the CDN?

          "I'm not sure if the 25 to 1 ratio is correct but it feels like it and it seems to me that other European countries use a much lower ratio."

          I was looking at business broadband around 10 years ago and BT told me that the main thing I would be paying for would be to be on a contention ratio of 20:1 on business as opposed to 50:1 on the domestic product.

          That may have changed over the years.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: What about the CDN?

        VoIP should already have QoS. As for video conferencing: it should have a lower priority than streaming at it's almost always a waste of time, bandwidth and CPU!

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: What about the CDN?

          VoIP should already have QoS. As for video conferencing: it should have a lower priority than streaming at it's almost always a waste of time, bandwidth and CPU!

          Sorry, can't do that. Net Neutrality says No! Or you could do it on a private IP (MPLS) network, but that won't help if you're working from home.. ish. You could apply QoS to VPN tunnelled traffic, but the public packets would (usually) get treated as best efforts.

          Which has always been the problem with that debate. QoS should improve the situation and theoretically improve home working, but only if there's some agreement around how to implement it, and how services (ie applications) end up abusing it. At one time, MS decided to mark all it's packets as highest priority until convinced to do otherwise. Easiest solution is probably for broadband providers to just assign percentages to 3 (of 5) classes and be done with it, because QoS only really becomes relevant when there's congestion. Issue then is what would happen at the peering/interconnect level, which is why the content providers are pro-'neutrality' and anti-QoS.

          But given that the EU's 'asked' the biggest traffic generators to do something, that could turn into a more interesting political approach to the whole 'net neutrality mess.

    4. LDS Silver badge

      Re: What about the CDN?

      It still clogs the pipes down the lines, as the closer they got to the users, the smaller they are. The "edge" is at the ISPs' edges which may not be very "local", depending on where you live. Many user streaming on lines without enough bandwidth to cope will start to have issues.

    5. kmedcalf

      Re: What about the CDN?

      The twat grubbermint gumby wants to appear to be doing something. This is something. Whether the something is of any practical use is not relevant. What is relevant is that some twat felt there was a need for theater (look like doing something) and so provided it.

      And the dweebs bought it.

      I wonder if Netflix is reducing their fee since they are reducing their service? Doesn't affect me because I don't live in Commie Europe, but if Netflix decided to do that here then either I would expect a VERY SIGNIFICANT reduction in the subscription price to compensate for the lack of provision of the service for which I have contracted.

      If they were to do that here, I would sue the fuckers immediately for breach of contract.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quality

    "Netflix will reduce the quality of its streaming videos in Europe”

    So they will switch to using content from ITV ?

    1. wheelbearing

      Re: Quality

      Snobs - but really, ITV has made some good stuff along with all the shite. And at least it's free shite.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Quality

      Netflix is dumbed down TV. A contender in the race to the abyss.

  7. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I don't have Netflix but when i stream on iPlayer and Amazon prime it automatically lowers the quality of the video if the bandwidth can't cope with HD streams, doesn't Netflix do that already? As if it does, then it seem more of a marketing ploy than any real help to say they are reducing the bandwidth by 25%

    1. Craig 2

      Reducing bitrate. If bandwidth is the capacity, bitrate is the load. It's better to prevent saturation in the first place than allow automatic measures.

      Also, it's a sign of our hedonistic existence that during the first real pandemic in modern times, Netflix availability is a concern!

      1. Korev Silver badge

        > Also, it's a sign of our hedonistic existence that during the first real pandemic in modern times, Netflix availability is a concern!

        Being able to entertain ourselves whilst cooped up in our homes for a month or so will lessen the impact of this on mental health.

        A few years ago I was housebound for a while due to injury and hated the isolation and boredom; I took steps to lower the effects of this.

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Yes netflix already does this.

      But if the maximum bit rate is capped at 75% of its normal then its still going to save some bandwidth isn't it.

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    I live in the boonies in Spain, I have an antenna on the roof that receives from a tower around 6Km away in the nearest village, for about a week now I would say things are about 30% slower than before and YouTube qualityis way down. Too tight to pay for Netflix.

  9. TheProf Silver badge
    WTF?

    Money back

    I hope that Mr. Netflix is reducing the charge for those who are paying for HD but getting only SD quality.

    1. Craig 2
      Thumb Down

      Re: Money back

      Yes, I'm sure you need that extra £2 a month to go and hoard more bog rolls...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Money back

        I can sell you 10 sheets for £2 if you buy it right now, in cash.

        Oh, erm, actually no cash. I will take contactless and pay my taxes for a change.

        1. Robert Grant Silver badge

          Re: Money back

          Contactless bog roll last a lot longer.

        2. Ken Shabby Bronze badge
          Windows

          Re: Money back

          How about a swipe card?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Money back

        That's not the point. Netflix charge a premium for HD viewing...and another premium on top of that for 4K viewing. If they're going to start lowering video quality for people who have specifically paid extra...then surely this is just profiteering at the expense of their customers?

        Then, what else is new?

      3. TheProf Silver badge

        Re: Money back

        #Craig 2

        I don't use Netflix so I had to go and check their prices.

        Difference between sd and hd is £3 and the difference between sd and 4k is £6.

      4. Adr

        Re: Money back

        It's £6 if you're on UHD. I'd agree with the logic if it only applied during normal working hours, but there's nothing to suggest that's the case. I suspect it's got more to do with capacity at their end and a burning desire not to pay a penny more than they have to.

    2. elaar

      Re: Money back

      "who are paying for HD but getting only SD quality."

      So how do you and they define HD vs SD? Resolution, bitrate, bandwidth?

      You can have SD with a higher bitrate with quality that surpasses HD.

      Similarly, they could still deliver UHD, resolution wise, but with a bitrate that would be so low it would look worse than HD, but they would still be delivering on their UHD service according to the resolution.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Retransmitted message

    1: home network capacity used to be at peak around 7PM IIRC. There should be significant spare headroom on the network during the working day.

    2: Netflix already downgrades when bandwidth is limited. The smart move would be to tell Netflix to downgrade more aggressively, on the theory that would allow more “important” traffic to get priority, while still allowing people to watch Netflix (important to keep people from social contact!), and not affecting quality for consumers where ISP capacity isn’t an issue.

    3: Allow individual ISPs to break legal agreements and limit Netflix bandwidth from Netflix POPs, if ISPs are having capacity issues.

    This seems political, possibly pushed by Netflix so they can sell more subscriptions while having a third party to blame for reducing service levels. Or maybe just knee jerk dumb reactions from politicians - stupidity seems like an option too!?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "There should be significant spare headroom on the network during the working day"

      The usage patterns changed a lot. If you look at graphs from peering exchanges, you will see the usage stays very high - higher than it was before even in peak times - between 1100-1900, with peaks between 1300-1900. If you look at historical data, the shape of the curve changed, and it's now more symmetric, no longer showing the higher peak in the evening.

      These are, for example, the statistics from the Milan exchange, the largest in Italy, where now most people are mandate to stay at home:

      https://www.mix-it.net/en/statistiche/

    2. Adr

      Re: Retransmitted message

      Trottling Netflix capacity during business hours makes sense. It won't be popular with the crotchspawn, but it's a sensible measure considering the sheer number of utterly pointless Skype meetings in my diary.

      I think you're right about it either being put litical or financial. Outside business hours, demand should be unchanged, unless they're taking new subscriptions and know they can't deliver?

      1. kmedcalf

        Re: Retransmitted message

        However if Netflix weren't throttled then perhaps the useless Skippy shit would be cancelled instead.

  11. Real Ale is Best

    Ooops.

    I guess I shouldn't have downloaded all 37GB of Doom Eternal...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Ooops.

      As long as you don't do it again . . .

  12. Luke Worm

    Less bandwidth

    According to French news, Netflix will reduce bandwidth, not resolution.

    Will lead to more buffering, I suppose.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Less bandwidth

      According to French news, Netflix will reduce bandwidth, not resolution.

      Will lead to more buffering, I suppose.

      Well, I watch Crunchyroll, so I'm USED to buffering and dropped connections...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Less bandwidth

        "Well, I watch Crunchyroll"

        Switch to VRV. (Good VPN required.)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Day time TV versus Covid 19

    I'll take my chances with the virus

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pointless

    This is just a case of doing something to be seen doing it.

    ISP's all over have said there's no risk of the internet falling apart. The evening peak doesn't come close to capacity of most networks and adding work on top doesn't affect it.

    BT's core 21CN network carries internet and business MPLS traffic. The reduction of MPLS traffic would align with the increase in internet traffic (via VPN) for people working from home.

    A pointless exercise in PR.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Pointless

      A lot of people are going to be sat at home on VPNs which are funnelling all their traffic to their work network. So business connections are still dealing with the same amount of traffic as when everyone is in the office, as well as then sending all that traffic over VPNs.

      (And if the VPN is tunnelling all traffic, that would include that Netflix stream you were watching on your other monitor while pretending to work)

      1. kmedcalf

        Re: Pointless

        So your "business" allows people to watch Netflix in the office? Happy bankruptcy to you!

  15. John Lilburne

    Why hasn't ...

    ... Cory Doctorow, Mike Massnick, the EFF, Public Knowledge, etc burnt the netflix HQ down for violating Net Neutrality? Why isn't Julia Reda barricading herself into the EU Parliament? Why hasn't Jimmy Wales blacked out wikipedia in protest?

    1. grumpyoldeyore
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Why hasn't ...

      Because they're all self isolating

      Paris 'cos she's in lockdown.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Why hasn't ...

      Net neutrality says that a carrier cannot treat traffic differently depending on its source, whilst this is a provider reducing the traffic that they emit - its not even remotely similar.

      It's like the loons who get suspended by twitter "But mah free speech!" - you have the right to free speech, but you don't have free platform.

  16. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge
    Coat

    Increasin social distance ...

    ... between pixels?

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Increasin social distance ...

      . . . b e t w e e n p i x e l s

      ftfy;)

  17. Nifty

    The problem is when the schools close, kids do school from home or are streaming themselves. On the EU mainland schools are mostly closed, UK follows Monday. That's when the impact will be seen.

    I tend to use about 600-800 MB/day working from home via VPN. But... corporate networks will be correspondingly quieter.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I assume this will be accompanied by a 30-day bill diet as well.

    Because if I'm not getting 4k why should I be paying for it.

  19. Maximum Delfango
    Linux

    Could everyone please ensure they are running the latest network stacks for their OS?

    Could everyone please ensure they are running the latest network stacks for their OS? This is important as newer stacks support 'dynamic flesh tone compression' which will reduce the bandwidth required in the UK by about 92% over the coming weeks.

    1. kmedcalf

      Re: Could everyone please ensure they are running the latest network stacks for their OS?

      None of my network traffic has "flesh tones" to compress. Could be please state the byte sequence than corresponds to "flesh tones"?

  20. nxnwest

    End of Days

    'Lower resolution Netflix! Dogs and cats living together!'

    Hmmm. Sudden urge to watch 'Ghostbusters.' No pixels. It's not on Netflix. Definitely a reduction in video quality.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have hacked into Netflix...

    And acquired two pixels taken from a night time scene in a programme I've been asked not to name. Use at your own risk:

    ■ ■

  22. whoseyourdaddy

    "when your video chat study group reveals which classmate can stream at 4K 60fps and now you're distracted wondering which adult service she performs on."

    popcorn...

  23. steviebuk Silver badge

    Good but...

    ....what about the people that pay for the HD quality and the 4K package? I assume they'll get money back?

    1. mrmond

      Re: Good but...

      According to Netflix on Twitter lowering the bitrate won't actually affect the picture quality

      Netflix UK & Ireland

      @NetflixUK

      "Hi, this is a technical change that shouldn't affect the quality of the streaming – you will continue to see content in the quality of your plan, 4K in your case (always depending on the connection and the device, as before), so your experience should be the same."

      "Members will still get the level of service (4K, SD, etc) they have paid for, but at the lowest bitrate possible."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        According to Netflix on Twitter lowering the bitrate won't actually affect the picture quality

        ... but only if you use gold-plated connectors on those digital plugs.

      2. kmedcalf

        Re: Good but...

        Dear NetFLix

        Please send me your lowest bitrate 4K stream at all times even if my display is only 1080p.

        Thank-you

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