Netflix reduces bandwidth with new eyeIO technology

Netflix is one of the biggest users of broadband Internet traffic in the US. A recent report said that Netflix accounts for over 32 percent of the peak downstream traffic in this country. Users who have restricted broadband caps on their ISPs that subscribe to Netflix have to be careful not to go over their cap limits.

Now a newly revealed company called eyeIO has announced that Netflix is using its technology to reduce the amount of bandwidth needed for Netflix's customers to stream HD video files from the service. An article at GigaOM states that eyeIO has been operating in stealth mode since 2010 and Netflix is its first customer.

The article states that normally Netflix delivers 720p HD videos with a downstream speed of 3.8 Mbps. eyeIO's technology optimizes the encoding process so that the same 720p video can be accessed by customers with a downstream speed of just 1.8 Mbps.

Such broadband savings is good for Netflix, who doesn't have to support such a high bandwidth rate, as well as consumers who want to stream Netflix but also don't want to run into any data caps on their home network or their portable device.

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30 Comments

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Good! Maybe I'll get throttled less. Between Pandora, Netflix, and an occasional steam title, my ISP throttles the crap out of me. Unlimited my @$$; if you can't use it for all the "media and games" they advertise, it ain't worth jack. Cableone btw.

SpyderCanopus said,
They should have hired me. I could give them 1080 with 1.5mbps near lossless. And anime, 0.3mbps 1080p.

Yeah and I can probably fit my desk in your ass as well.... 1.5mbps is 1536 bits which is 192kB..

which is not enough to store 1 second of high quality audio in the opinions of many (including me) and a lossless 1080p FRAME would also take way more than that.

You are clearly not paid to think.

wwphil said,

Yeah and I can probably fit my desk in your ass as well.... 1.5mbps is 1536 bits which is 192kB..

which is not enough to store 1 second of high quality audio in the opinions of many (including me) and a lossless 1080p FRAME would also take way more than that.

You are clearly not paid to think.

And you obviously have no idea how compression works.

SpyderCanopus said,

And you obviously have no idea how compression works.

And neither do you with those claims. But I suppose "near lossless" has quite the span.

It's easy, most encoders run a DNR along with the encode... so the bandwidth drop. Imho Netflix look like crap, even worst than Youtube imho. I subscribed for 2 months than dropped it. I use too much my Bluray Player.. or maybe it's because of my screen size (i own a 1080p projector) so anything other than bluray look sub par (altought some dvd look ok)

Tbh this is great. Some downloads i get are 720p and perfect quality, yet 700mb. Yet some are horrible and 2gb. Would love to know how these awesome encoders get such small sizes yet honestly first-class quality.

dancedar said,
Tbh this is great. Some downloads i get are 720p and perfect quality, yet 700mb. Yet some are horrible and 2gb. Would love to know how these awesome encoders get such small sizes yet honestly first-class quality.

handbrake

and I was wondering why all of a sudden while watching Netflix on Blu-ray I was only getting it least 6.8 Mbps and than a drop, hopefully whatever they did does not ruin the HD quality since 720p is not anything epic on Netflix. Still waiting for 1080p and 5.1 surround on my Sony BDP - S780.

Since I've finally sucumbed and started using Netflix, this is great news because this month I hit 75% of my usage. Luckily it resets tomorrow.

DChiuch said,
But will they pass on the savings to the consumer?

The lower bandwidth utilization, ability for people with slower connections to enjoy HD, reduced chance for everyone to have to re-buffer, and less likely to his data caps sure sounds like the consumer wins with this one.

I've been watching films and TV shows via the app on my new Samsung PN64D8000 and the quality is fantastic. Far better than what my Sony or Samsung Blu-ray player, and far better than the Xbox 360. No stuttering, no pixelation. Looks better than DVD quality and almost as good as Blu-ray if you ask me. No complaints!

let me see if my math is correct:

3.8Mbps / 8 = .475MB/s.
.475 * 60s = 28.5MB/min
28.5 * 120min = 3.42GB for a 2hr movie, right? that's pretty awesome if you ask me.

There are plenty of "720p" MKVs out there that are 500MB. LOL Yeah, i wouldn't watch that on my TV even if you paid me. I know it costs money to push out all this data but I got 50Mbps pipe that needs feeding! I know i'm probably special with no caps but at least allow the rest of us to get super good quality from that new settings option they have their site.

I'd say 10-15Mbps sounds good for 1080P streaming to my Xbox or WDTV Live!

Jdawg683 said,
...3.42GB for a 2hr movie, right? that's pretty awesome if you ask me.

The higher quality 720p MKVs reach around 1.5GB per episode, at around 42-60mins each. So for two hours you're looking at 3GB. The extra 500mb might ensure a notch higher quality, or perhaps greater audio fidelity, but for a streaming service you'd think they'd compromise somewhere and be able to match or beat 3GB for two hours.

Resolution aside, if you want to make the file smaller you usually sacrifice image quality. There's nothing stopping them doing that to save bandwidth, but if there's a profitable new tech behind this you'd think they're doing something more sophisticated. Makes me wonder what they could be doing here that couldn't also be applied to general video compression algorithms.

For some reason lately I've been streaming Netflix and it looks like garbage ... very pixalated. My bandwidth is not an issue so I don't know what's going on.

Lexcyn said,
For some reason lately I've been streaming Netflix and it looks like garbage ... very pixalated. My bandwidth is not an issue so I don't know what's going on.

Netflix has always been crap quality.

Xilo said,

Netflix has always been crap quality.

Yeah, beautiful HD streams better than most people have every experienced sure is crap.

Xenomorph said,

Yeah, beautiful HD streams better than most people have every experienced sure is crap.


I've used it before. It was so blocky and pixelated on everything I tried. I simply can't fathom how people can stand to watch it.

Xenomorph said,

Yeah, beautiful HD streams better than most people have every experienced sure is crap.


If by "most people have every experienced" you include people that have never experienced any HD content at all then that may be true. But in order to get the HD resolution at a reasonable bandwidth Netflix does use a high (lossy) compression rate and so within the realm of HD content it's streams are pretty poor quality wise. Netflix streams are much worse quality for me than either Blu-Ray or HD TV which are the other main content delivery systems I use. I recognize that I'm not the typical users though as I have FiOS for TV and as I understand it Verizon uses less lossy encoding on it's HD channels than other TV providers.

Xilo said,

I've used it before. It was so blocky and pixelated on everything I tried. I simply can't fathom how people can stand to watch it.

Your fault for not configuring your bandwidth limits in your account settings, or by having a slow connection between your ISP and NetFlix. By default NetFlix accounts are not configured to use the highest end streaming quality, and you have to manage your account to set it to the max scale.

When playing any movie on NetFlix, press "ctrl-alt-shift-s" (the play window must not be set to full screen mode or the command will do nothing) and you can set your buffering / playback scale. You can manually force all streams to play at maximum quality, even if it means waiting an hour for it to cache.

Kaedrin said,

set your buffering / playback scale

BTW, ctrl-alt-shift-s changes are not permanent. If you use it, you must do it every time you start a new stream playing.