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Netflix to cut streaming quality in Europe for 30 days (bbc.co.uk)
953 points by tompagenet2 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 744 comments

I've been having major internet issues lately (Seattle area), have had 4 techs come try to figure it out. Yesterday's tech finally correctly diagnosed the problem as happening before the connection reaches our home but was unsure of the cause. He called his supervisor to investigate, and they found that the capacity for our neighborhood's node was nearly at 100%, while ideally it should always be under 80%. Fortunately they said they'll be able to fix it within a few weeks by doing a node split. The tech mentioned he'd never heard of capacity issues before in his ~20 years as a tech and that some smaller ISPs have been having issues keeping their internet up and running at all.

I've been tracking the performance with PingPlotter, if you're curious how bad it is right now here's the last 10 minutes: https://i.imgur.com/AnUqv3j.png (red lines are packet loss) Pretty interesting how current circumstances are pushing even tried and tested infrastructure to their limits.

If you didn't know, that 80% number is probably the result of Little's Law. That's the result where if your demand is generated by a Poisson process, and your service has a queue, 80% utilization of the service is where the probability of an infinite queue starts to get really high. People

Here's a nice blog post about the subject:


This law does not apply to queueing as encountered in routers. It assumes unbounded queues and a poisson arrival process (i.e. a memoryless channel); both assumptions don't hold for packet routers and senders using congestion control (TCP or otherwise).

There is, however, a high chance of encountering buffer bloat if countermeasures are not taken at the chokepoint: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bufferbloat

Modern cable modems, for example, are required to implement such countermeasures. My ISP is at over 90% capacity and round trip times are still mostly reasonable. (Bandwidth is atrocious, of course.)

How do you monitor this? The 90% over capacity, would like to see where mine is at

There might be a way using a cable TV receiver (see my other comment on this thread), but in my case, a sales rep of my ISP just told me on the phone.

I have an older modem (DCM476) and it definitely doesn't have this or doesn't have it enabled. I have to use/tune queue management myself on the router side.

Yes, it's mandatory only as of DOCSIS 3.1, and yours seems to be 3.0. (Supposedly it has been "backported" to 3.0, but that obviously would not apply to existing devices certified before that amendment to the spec.)

To add:

If you have more control over or knowledge of your load, you can safely go higher than 80%.

Eg when I was working at Google we carefully tagged our RPC calls by how 'sheddable' they were. More sheddable load gets dropped first. Or, from the opposite perspective: when important load is safely under 100%, which it is almost all the time in a well-designed system, we can also handle more optional, more sheddable load.

As a further aside, parts of the financial system work on similar principles:

If you have a flow of income over time, like from a portfolio of offices you are renting out, you can take the first 80% of dollars that come in on average every month and sell that very steady stream of income off for a high price.

The rest of income is much choppier. Sometimes you fail to rent everything. Sometimes occupants fall behind on rent. Sometimes a building burns down.

So you sell the rest off as cheaper equity. It's more risky, but also has more upside potential.

The more stable and diversified your business, the bigger proportion you can sell off as expensive fixed income.

I've noticed that above 70-80% it gets pretty hard to insure that interrupt timing can be met and balanced with low priority main looping in a lot of my bare metal embedded projects.

The tech was full of shit. This happens literally all the time. You probably won’t get a “node split” unless more people loudly complain. It’s cheaper for them to roll a tech and hope you get fed up than it is to actually fix the problem.

My ISP has been playing the same game with me for months. I finally cancelled the contract when it was about to renew, and I got a very interesting winback call from sales:

Not only did the rep freely share the utilization numbers with me (80% during the day and 90% at night), he also mentioned that things would not get better until end of the year when they would do a node split.

As consolation, they offered me 10x the download speed for half the price. I'm not really sure how that would help congestion...

I work in this field in Spain. Margins in this sector are slim, deployment is expensive. EVERYONE works with simultaneity rates, it's the only way to have cheap connections.

In fiber connections is actually not that expensive to split a fiber after a CTO, you can actually sort of daisy chain it, but you want to keep everything as standard as possible.

Margins are not slim at all in the USA

You think they're fat in the US? Look north.

Shh, you'll upset the Great Robelus[1] and they may start euthanizing animals....

[1] https://www.thebeaverton.com/2020/03/telus-threatens-to-euth...

I'm Canadian, trust me I know and hate it.

Some EU relatives of mine keep their phone plans living here because it's cheaper with the overseas rate than paying Canadian plan rates (!!!)

Maybe being in the system with a higher speed tier gets you higher priority?

I don't see what motivation a tech would have for lying about this.

I asked a Comcast tech when IPv6 would be available and he said “IP v what?”. Don’t attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.

That's like asking a telephone lineman about IPv6. Diff layer in the OSI stack.

My 67 year old grandpa has vague idea what ipv6 is.

He probably was around when the standard was defined. It's amazing this is taking 30 years to replace IPv4.

The transition is definitely taking a long time, are there additional reasons for delaying the switch to IPv6 other than the mitigation of the problem with NAT/private networks?

It requires cooperation from perhaps fifty thousand organisations (there are 45k ASes that announce more than one prefix, and I'm guessing that there may be 5k software vendors). Some of those have orgcharts that aren't very friendly to this kind of change.

Adding to that, even clueful places may be held back by one or more vendor or provider, all of which need to have working v6 support before you yourself can deploy it.

I thought ipv4 and ipv6 addresses could be provided simultaneously (or rather, ipv6 has provisions to be mapped to/from ipv4); you just wouldn't see any real benefits until you could switch wholesale (because you'd still be limited to whatever ipv4 can do)

That is, it was my understanding that there was no real blocker to supporting it in the interim, except for the lack of any immediate benefit. Though I'm also not clear on whether supportinf both introduces any significant complexity

They can be provided simultaneously, that's the normal case.

Suppose an ISP wants to provide IPv6 besides v4. What does that ISP need? Well, first, v6 from the upstreams, that's simple, and v6-capable name servers, routers, that's simple too nowadays.

But there's more. Suppose that the ISP has some homegrown scripts connected to its monitoring or accounting, written by a ninny years ago, uncommented, and some of those assume IPv4, and noone wants to touch them.

Suppose that ISP outsources its support, and the outsourcing company promises to do the needful regarding IPv6 support but never actually does it.

Suppose that that ISP is in a country where ISPs have to answer automated requests from the police or courts, and one of the software packages involved in that has a v6-related bug. Or the ISP worries that it's poorly tested and the ISP's lawyer advises that if there are any bugs, the ISP will be criminally liable.

And so on. Enabling IPv6 may need a fair number of ducks lined up.

Did you ask them ten years ago? Comcast has had v6 for ages.

the point was, i believe, that the techs frequently don't know what they are talking about.

A lot of techs for large orgs don’t. I had a grid electrician in a while ago, replacing unshielded triple phase from the pole, who was convinced that they only use AC in the US, and that here in Europe it’s all DC, so safer, and this is why I can work on it without shutting it down, mate.

The mind boggles. These people maintain our infrastructure.

Wow, that's wrong on several different levels. I can't even begin...

I understand that you don't need an electrical engineering degree to be an electrician, but still, these are some fairly basic concepts in the electric power industry, especially the safety aspects, so you'd think someone working on live wires would know better.

Honestly, any halfway-intelligent person who travels internationally should know that Europe runs at 240VAC/60Hz, because this is really important if you want to use your American electronics there without a transformer. (When I went to Europe last, I brought my laptop, and an adapter which does not convert voltage, only the prongs, but that's OK because the laptop's power brick says it works on everything from 100VAC to 240VAC, as do a lot of electronics these days. But you have to check this first, you can't assume! Plugging a 120V-only device into this adapter could cause a fire.)

Europe runs on 230V 50Hz.

Yep, you're right.

Luckily, the 50/60Hz stuff really doesn't matter these days except maybe for some digital clocks on appliances.

It's instructive I think to look at the job ads for these technicians. It's frequently something on the close order of: can be professional, knows how to drive, can handle close proximity customer service, knows some handyman skills, and oh by the way maybe has seen an Ethernet cable before.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, everyone was entry-level at some point, but engineers who do capacity planning and traffic engineering they are emphatically not.

To contrast this, every Comcast tech (3) that's been in my home has been very knowledgeable. Once they see I'm a "geek" they unload with technical knowledge and generally talk my ear off. That's how I learned my town has less nodes/per subscriber than any of the surrounding towns which is why my Internet speed is frequently ass.

Because he wanted you to believe they were going to fix the problem at a later date so he could go to the next job (paid by the gig) and get you to close the ticket (improve his metrics).

I’ve worked at a major ISP, for a decade, and spotting something like this should be so easy to spot. There are tools on monitoring of load all the time, and areas are routibely getting split etc. to improve bandwith, so I think your ISP are basicly amateurs..

The problem is that most companies aren't going to tell you that their peering circuits are running hot or that their internal network or access layers to the end user are running warm at peak. ISPs all do stat muxing and the line is "we make money when customers don't use the service".

They'll be happy to deal with the last mile segment, but anything beyond that is murky and most companies I know aren't going to share much. Helps to have friends on the inside leak some graphs, though.

> I’ve worked at a major ISP, for a decade, and spotting something like this should be so easy to spot

MRTG graph, ISP circa 1995. Colorized.

See a flat line? that's congestion. Now figure out where it is coming from. Sorry, we have been doing this for thirty years so I'm kind of cranky. It is not a rocket science.

Alternatively, load has gone up across the board in a short period of time, so that preventive scaling has fallen behind and are in recovery mode.

Yes it can, but why would it take several techs, to spot something like load, which is the first thing you would do, it should take no more than 10s to look it up in a tool.

A "last foot" tech might not even have access to those tools, much less know how to use them.

Rolling out that tech has got to be more expensive than checking the load first.

Dunno how it is in the States, but here in UK rolling out the tech is basically the first thing they do after the unavoidable "have you tried turning it on and off again" phone call. They just don't trust the customer to have any clue and maybe don't want to waste time doing troubleshooting at their end when it's "probably" a downstream issue.

Network Operations should be raising known problem issues to front line call centre staff.

Network congestion issues shouldn't be handed off to field techs to check local loop (last mile) and CPE (Customer Premises Equipment.

I'm pretty sure it's standard practice at these companies to never let front line call center staff acknowledge known problems. Sometimes, the automated phone menu will give you a recorded generic message that they are currently experiencing a service issue, but that's intended to convince you to hang up and patiently wait for them to sort their shit out. I've never had a front-line rep be at all useful in diagnosing a real problem.

Yeah true.

I guess I need to remember the ISP I work for here in Australia (front line tech support, and then network operations physical security and infrastructure) was widely recognised as the best ISP in Australia multiple years running, so I shouldn't use it as a baseline expectation.

So how was life at internode or aussie?


Yeah, was a good place to work. I was in their Adelaide data centres when iiNet acquired the company.

In NZ you sign up with an ISP, but your local connection is usually handled by the same physical equipment (DSLAM for ADSL, etc) which is owned by a single network provider.

I’m not sure what the incentives are for an ISP to try to get the provider to fix issues, or even if they would e.g. https://company.chorus.co.nz/what-we-do is notoriously bad for service and the copper network is being deprecated. Locally https://www.enable.net.nz/about-enable/ are doing a good job of service, because they are well subsidised by the government and seem to be effectively operated.

> There are tools on monitoring of load all the time

On some days my connection resets 5 times within an hour, which is quite annoying since retraining the connection takes a minute or two. When I call support about it they have zero monitoring in place that would let them know about the recent history of the connection quality, they can only do spot tests of SNR on demand, which of course doesn't show any transient events. According support forum posts of other users they'd have to explicitly enable "long term monitoring" based on user input to get that information.

Of course SNR line quality is an issue separate from congestion, but still, automatic monitoring appears to be limited.

how can i as a subscriber find out whats the capacity?

It used to be possible to determine the downlink capacity and even current usage with a DVB-C receiver and some Linux software, since DOCSIS is essentially just IP encapsulated in MPEG transport streams on a digital TV channel.

More recent versions of DOCSIS have moved away from that layer of backwards compatibility, so you would probably need some specialised equipment, if it is possible at all (I don't know at what layer exactly encryption happens).

Not amateurs, liars.

So Frontier?

A free alternative to PingPlotter: https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality

My connection: https://www.thinkbroadband.com/broadband/monitoring/quality/...

In case anyone is shopping for broadband in the UK, I only have great things to say about Zen pictured above. It's so good I just called to upgrade my 80 Mb to a 300 Mb just for fun, meanwhile my quarantined Italian friends are suffering awful internet now that everybody's at home streaming Netflix.

I used to have Virgin fibre and my average ping was 80ms with a ton of jitter. The plot above is my internet while downloading at about 2MB/s average over the past 24 hours, and surprisingly stays the same even at peak download.

I’m being pedantic, but that’s not really Zen, it’s the BT Openreach backend which has really great stability and latencies. I tracked my BT Openreach connection for many years and I never got more than a few ms of jitter, really amazing. However the speeds are not great (70/20), and the coverage is also fairly poor - I'm in a dead zone right now between two local exchanges. So unfortunately I'm forced to use Virgin, which has gotta be the worst ISP in the history of the world (and I have had Comcast!). Terrible network and terrible customer service - I don't know how this company exists.

That's a neat alternative to PingPlotter. I like that it pings from outside, so no client required. I'll check it out, however, I'm in the US, so I bet it's always going to be high latency.

Not friend of yours italian quarantined enjoying 1Gb/s here. Never used Netflix ;-)

You're describing an issue specific to US ISPs. It doesn't apply to Europe. From what I read even before the pandemic the US ISPs offered rather crappy services. In Europe, particularly in Poland, I don't have and haven't heard about anyone having any issues with connectivity right now, even though the country is in lockdown, schools and universities are closed, restaurants work only in delivery/take-out mode, companies switched to remote work, ... And still no issues at home nor at work.

Don't make decisions about the European infrastructure based on American problems.

This article is literally about the EU asking Netflix to reduce bandwidth in Europe.

And the comment I replied to was "literally" about problems encountered in US (Seattle is in US FYI).

Having issues with the internet here in the UK today. Unsurprising given that half of the world has suddenly discovered video calling. Mobile network seems more stable.

In my country (NL), a lot of the backbone of both cable TV and internet on a street level has been replaced with fiber already; I can imagine that in the US, due to the scale, this process is lower. Doesn't have to be fiber-to-the-home, 20mbit should be enough for everyone for example.

I haven't had any problems with my internet (I do have fiber straight into my house, wired network on my laptop, fast.com reports 600 Mb/s), but Skype, which we use for meetings, has been pretty shit in terms of sound quality.

20mbit is not enough if you have kids with retina display ipads looking at youtube!

I work virtually from New Zealand with my colleague in Lombardy Italy. Today I noticed some more serious degradation in video call quality for the first time.

But mostly I'm amazed how well the internet is working given the circumstances.

I'm in Poland as well and I've been working remotely for over three years. Since the lock down started I feel that everything is a bit slower and less stable, but I haven't experienced major issues during usual work hours doing work-related things (maybe except MS Teams acting up). However Netflix is broken most of the time during afternoon hours (when I want to keep kids occupied with cartoons for an hour or so to get things done). Luckily other streaming services work fine.

In contrast, my internet connection finally started working great since lockdowns started. I suspect my ISP (small local company in central Poland) got some additional bandwidth or somehow finally fixed their infrastructure when they saw increased internet usage among their clients.

It depends. If there is competition, things can be good. I live in a place in the US where there are 3 broadband providers, and I pay far less than $100 for a symmetric gigabit connection, and I get it too.

FWIW, the reason nodes typically don't get to 100% is due to something called WRED (Weighted Random Early Detection). As the outbound/inbound queue on your "node" approaches fullness, it randomly selects packets to drop. This signals TCP on the sender to back-off. The closer to full-ness it gets, the higher the probability (weight), so the sender knows to slow down to the slowest link's speed.

I've written more about this problem here [0].

[0] https://rkeene.org/projects/info/wiki/176

Thanks for the write-up!

I wonder how TCP BBR would react here. If I understand it right, it wouldn't need RED to back off: the increased latency of buffers filling up would do that automatically. But BBR also wouldn't let the occasional dropped packet make it back off.

From what I understand about TCP BBR from reading about it the past few minutes, it would compute a new link speed as a result of impacts from WRED and then use that for the connection baseline speed.

TCP BBR would still rely on RED/WRED to compute the connection rate estimate initially, then it would attempt to send below that rate to avoid packet loss. If packet loss is detected it would recompute the estimated connection rate.

I found this page [0] useful, especially the graphs.

[0] https://blog.apnic.net/2017/05/09/bbr-new-kid-tcp-block/

> have had 4 techs come try to figure it out

Doesn't sound ideal for distancing.

The way the story is written it sounds like their attendance was there was serial temporal distance involved (they didn't come at the same time)

I mean inviting four different people into your home sounds silly if they're there at the same time or not! I guess people need internet to earn a living though.

Comcast's last mile network in Seattle has been struggling in some areas from the morning until around 4 to 5 PM. It's not massive loss, but enough to disrupt video conference. Run a mtr towards an Internet dest and you'll see loss at the first hop and everything behind it.

Mtr isn’t a reliable measure of packet loss. Routers drop “extra” packets like ping before they drop “paying” packets.

Yes I'm well aware of routers policing TTL=1 packets, but if you see consistent loss all the way down it's usually a sign. This compared to seeing individual spikes on intermediate routers which are usually control plane policing.

mtr uses UDP data packets, as far as I am aware.

Yes, the ICMP response packets could still be skewed, and the effect you mention is definitely real, but on a good connection, usually there should not be much to drop at all, neither TCP/UDP traffic nor ICMP packets.

>mtr uses UDP data packets, as far as I am aware.

Doesn't matter what it uses (though by default MTR does use regular old ICMP Echo - you have to specify -u or -t to get it in UDP or TCP mode). When TTL expires it still requires an ICMP TTL Exceeded be sent, regardless of whether or not you were sending ICMP through it.

Traceroute implementations in general are probably telling most everyone in this thread a lot less than they think, even without icmp deprioritization being taken into account.

https://archive.nanog.org/meetings/nanog47/presentations/Sun... is worth a read for most anyone that's ever attempted to use traceroute to troubleshoot networking, because they're almost certainly doing it wrong.

This happened to me years ago near the University of Illinois campus (UIUC) with Comcast. I had multiple techs come out but they would only come in the morning when the connection was fine. I finally escalated to corporate who finally told me they needed a node split. I made them give me 100% free internet until the split was complete about 6 months later.

Since I have been at home I practically live in MS Teams, with constant video chats. Yesterday I did a presentation with 140 people connecting watching my ppt and camera. That's got to be unusual. I imagine most of my colleagues going through this routine daily.

> I've been tracking the performance with PingPlotter, if you're curious how bad it is right now here's the last 10 minutes: https://i.imgur.com/AnUqv3j.png

Is your own connection idle though? Pings are also affected by the congestion on your own router†, especially if you don't have good AQM (such as CAKE). Dumb queues will just drop all packets equally, smart queues will do flow isolation and penalize the bulk flows first while keeping the trickle ones (ping, ssh, voip, ...) untouched.

† and anything else along the path to your ping target

When I have connectivity issues during a pandemic I make sure at LEAST 6 techs come to make sure I have perfect connectivity to Netflix and chill.

Ho lee sh, that is absolutely crazy.

I am sure its affecting you internet speed, what sorts of tasks are you generally doing now that the entire is state is pretty much on lockdown?

Here in Alberta, although we are told be socially distant, there is no full lockdown and I want to know what kind of issues would I be expecting to run into in the up coming weeks/months?

Makes me glad I went with the Business version of Vodaphone in the UK - which is ironically £1 cheaper a month than the consumer.

I suspect its the services that relay on super low prices and don't have excess capacity Talk Talk etc that are really going to feel the pressure in the UK

What ISP? I’m on Comcast “Business Class” in Seattle and experiencing occasional slowdowns as well.


Around the time you posted this, my internet in Seattle was down for near around 12 hours yesterday. I'm not fond of my ISP, but that's unusual even for them.

How does it come about that the ISPs Network Operations team didn't know they were saturating a link?

Last ISP I worked at would have email and SMS notifications going to On Call staff.

Because the NOCs may not be all that competent. I remember talking to the Cablevision IP NOC back in the mid 2000s about their internal backbone circuits they were running hot that went to a POP we peered with them. I had Cablevision at home and the congestion was breaking my VPN to work. The NOC said "an OC45 was down" (no such thing, it's an OC48) and that congestion is okay because TCP will work with it okay and there won't be a problem. I shutdown the peering session with them force traffic around a diff city (sent it to Chicago). I remember talking to the eng team at Cablevision about their NOC and they had a good chuckle and admitted they're only good for the simplest of operations (link down, go fix).

In some parts of the world running links at 95 percent is okay because look 5 percent left (totally ignorant of buffers or microbursts etc.).

Curious, what ISP do you have? Currently moving to a new place in Seattle and have to decide between Wave G or Atlas Networks.

Thanks for mentioning PingPlotter, I'll try it out to monitor our connexion.

Paying isn't enough to get what you paid for, so...

https://github.com/SickChill/SickChill - automatically download TV episodes (about Linux)

https://github.com/CouchPotato/CouchPotatoServer - automatically download Movies (about Linux)

https://github.com/qbittorrent/qBittorrent - torrent client for downloading your Linux tv/movies...

Just my 2 cents: I tried using Couchpotato for a while and it was one of the worst pieces of software I have ever tried to use. Confusing UX/UI, I never could understand how and when it was actually searching for movies etc.

I switched to radarr[1] and I never looked back. Although I hate having mono installed in my server, at least I can manually perform searches to check if it works until I was satisfied that the "Monitoring" feature actually works. And I find the UI much more understandable too.

I also use sonarr[2], which is also pretty satisfying for me. Although SickChill looks much better and more feature complete; I will look into it when (if?) I manage to get back home.

[1] https://github.com/Radarr/Radarr [2] https://github.com/Sonarr/Sonarr

Are you using Sonarr 2 or Sonarr 3? Sonarr 3 has a revamped UI.

Sonarr 3 isn't technically stable, but I've been running it for more than a year now and didn't have any problems worth mentioning.

Radarr, Lidarr and some others are all built off of Sonarr.

Could you explain the principles of these softwares?

Do they basically automatically download the newest pirate movies using BitTorrent protocol? Or there is more?

BitTorrent, Usenet, and more.

When you cancel the Netflix service (like I just did, after 8 years), please make sure to specify the reason. There's a form (Go to "Account", then look for a cancel button in the upper left part of the page) where you can enter some text.

I'm pretty sure this text is read by a real human in the end. Each cancellation likely represents a pretty significant loss of recurring revenue on average.

Clarification: This was a total BS move. A French EU politician yesterday tweeted a random idea, with no support (or even any request) from any network provider. They all seem to be saying traffic is slightly higher than usual, but they're coping.

Then Netflix just randomly decides to do this, to everyone in Europe. To me this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Goodbye, Netflix.

Sonarr and Radarr are 10x better.

Also interested in why they're better?

New here. What's the difference between these two?

Sonarr handles TV shows and Radarr handles movies.

Thank you!

Forget installing stuff manually and just install Cloudbox on a server (https://github.com/Cloudbox/Cloudbox)

I have a server in a DC that has been running Cloudbox for about a year now with 0 hiccups. 10 users and ~14TB in Google drive. Save yourself the headache and go Usenet instead of torrents too. Can't recommend this setup enough, it's about as hands off after initial setup as you can get.

Linux administration skills are going to be in abundance once the COVID-19 threat has passed.

Might also be a good opportunity for trying out some community and mesh network software.

Also the current URL for The Pirate Bay is https://tpb.party

Sonarr and Radarr are 1000% time better


What makes you (not you specifically, you in the general sense) think you're entitled to viewing content without paying for it? I mean if you want to make a point just cancel your subscription.

It's such a non-issue that I don't think most people care enough to bother trying to justify it. Asking "what makes you think you're entitled" is a loaded question because it assumes that the people downloading have some sort of opinion on "entitlement" in the first place.

If I'm being seriously honest, it's because all the offers are actively screwing you over. Always have been. I've never, EVER felt good about "buying" (paying for) from large content providers. Or had a feeling the money was being used for good or in a fair way. There is literally no incentive for me. "Ease" might have been an incentive, except I don't tend to pick easy over getting screwed.

A few months ago there was blog post posted here from a guy making movie reviews. In the blog post he described how he managed to get 4k Netflix screenshots on his Chromecast. The effort he made was enormous and involved reverse engineering the Netflix data protocol (I probably worded this wrong).

When doing that he found out that Netflix streaming in 4k isn't actually 4k.

Again not exactly sure how this worked but that was the result. And he put some kind of device between the Chromecast and the TV. And at the end of the post he shared his top movies of the year or in the previous post.

Does anyone know what I am talking about? I've thought about this pist several times in the past weeks.

On a related note, if you watch Netflix in Chrome or Firefox then you're only getting a resolution of 720p.

    Google Chrome
        Up to 720p on Windows, Mac, and Linux
        Up to 1080p on Chrome OS
    Internet Explorer up to 1080p
    Microsoft Edge up to 4K*
    Mozilla Firefox up to 720p
    Opera up to 720p
    Safari up to 1080p on Mac OS X 10.10.3 or later

    *Streaming in 4K requires an HDCP 2.2 compliant connection to a 4K capable display, 
    Intel's 7th generation Core CPU, and the latest Windows updates.    
    Check with the manufacturer of your system to verify specifications.
From: https://help.netflix.com/en/node/23742

I really wish they'd just allow up to 4K streaming on all main browsers. The Windows 10 app is awful and very buggy for multi-monitor setups. The two main issues I run into with it are:

1. The video will stutter unless I set both my monitors to the same refresh rate. As you can imagine, it's somewhat annoying to have to lower the refresh rate of my main monitor from 144Hz to 60Hz whenever I want to watch Netflix.

2. When playing in fullscreen on one monitor, the video will randomly minimize if I interact with any applications on my second monitor! So if I want to look something up online or whatever as I'm watching, I have to switch to windowed mode or I risk having the video just minimize and mute itself.

Note that if you pirate 1080p or 4k content you'll always get the full resolution you asked for.

Not always at a great bitrate though.

I haven't really torrented anything in a while but I doubt there are many 20GB+ Blu-ray quality rips out there that you can download in a reasonable amount of time.

EDIT: after reading the replies I stand corrected; it seems like there are some better quality uploads out there than I thought.

There are plenty, 30-40GB uncompressed BluRay remux rips are very common. Will download in under 15 minutes.

You can also find uncompressed 60-70GB UHD rips.

> reasonable amount of time

Depends very much on your own bandwidth. For someone with 400Mbps, 20GB+ doesn't take that long time to download in the end, especially popular torrents.

But then again, not many have that kind of bandwidth available.

At least it will be the same bitrate every time :)

The keyword you should be searching for is "remux", as in identical video/audio streams to a BD but in a new container (probably MKV).

Using Sonarr you can specify minimum bitrates to download. It fetches content automatically in the background for you.

You can specify, but you can't guarantee that what you want is out there at that bitrate.

You'd be very surprised.

Very common.

Availability aside (bluray rips are a thing), most people can’t tell the difference between FullHD and 4K at all, at least in moving pictures[1]. I doubt bitrate will make much difference on top of that, as long as you start from some reasonable value.

I seriously can’t tell the difference between a very low quality YIFY rip and a proper Bluray. If you freeze frame they both look bad, and when they’re moving they both look great. I’ve done this as an experiment multiple times and it’s like judging wine... There’s a threshold you need to pass but beyond that you quickly run into diminishing returns.

[1] BTW most movies are still mastered or partially mastered (SFX) at 1080p still, and even if they’re true 4K you get high quality downscale to 1080p for free. But really most 4K movies are still upscaled from 1080p.

I’d rather see 60-144hz before any increases in resolution above 1080p and maybeeee 4K.

I think lower quality rips show themselves a bit more on high quality playback devices, but I generally don’t hit low quality releases purely for Snob factors so I could be wrong.

Are movies actually made in 144 FPS?

Not that I'm aware of. The only high FPS movie I know of is Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ang Lee, it is shot at 120fps. The Hobbit is shot at 48fps.

No, and that’s my point. 144hz is probably overkill, but 60hz is a noticeable difference.

Movies look like garbage in >30fps.

That's why moviemakers beg audiences not to do frame interpolation.

Interpolation and frame rate are two different things.

Care to give an argument more than ‘looks garbage’? I think people reported that the hobbit looked weird, but that’s likely because were used to 30fps in a subconscious level.

I don't know how much films you watch, but the only thing I'm used to on a subconscious level is what the world looks like IRL.

What a joke. We're punished for being paying customers.

It's like the oppressive DRM that hurts actual paying customers of games rather than the pirates who circumvent it.

This is generally how the media industry works. Paying for content (online at least) is almost always more complex, less flexible and lower quality.

Add to that the various geographical restrictions (have the audacity to live outside of the US? No content for you!) and piracy becomes quite attractive.

Not with music though.

Unless you want to non-English artists. Korean music for example used to be a nightmare on all streaming platforms when I last tried them.

When people say everything is on Spotify, they really mean that everything they know which is Spotify, is on Spotify.

Half the stuff I recommend to people is not on Spotify or Youtube. Thank goodness I had the "entitlement" to build a giant mp3 collection because I have no idea where I'd find it otherwise.

I decided to do that as well, and the fact that artists get literal pennies from Spotify made me completely apathetic towards piracy. I support artists I like through merch and concerts, which is where they make money nowadays.

This started with DVDs that had unskippable anti piracy messages that piracy tools would either bypass or automatically enable skippability.

And shoplifting is also easier than waiting in line at checkout.

That's true as a quip, but what's also true is that piracy flourishes if and only if there are no comfortable means of obtaining content legally. Music piracy was a big thing until it basically dropped dead from one day to the other when music streaming services like Spotify packed all music into one easy subscription. I would also say that movie piracy also dropped significantly when Netflix subscriptions became mainstream (not necessarily in terms of number of available movies, but certainly in terms of market share).

"all music", not by a stretch

more like redefining what people think is "all music"

Also sharing mp3s was sharing our full fucking musical culture with each other. We had WHAT.CD. You could make mixtapes. Copyright vultures destroyed ALL of this and put shit like Spotify in the middle of it, making it the arbiter of what is and is not part of this shared culture. Controlling HOW it is shared, what you can do with it and preventing it from being shared with people not in the paying Spotify club.

The things they did to our shared culture, in the name of "stopping privacy" has cost us SO fucking much.

If you pirate it originally yourself, sure.

Pirated content from other people that lies about what it is isn't unheard of, though.

Not unheard of, but uncommon. Typically the uploader will list the particulars of his precious file in extreme detail. Video resolution down to the pixel, framerate, mean bitrate and the exact settings and version of the libx264 codec software used...

Unlike streaming services, there is a vibrant competitive landscape in the piracy scene with strong competition incentives on technical quality, with reputation being the commodity.

Depends on your sources!

This is really driving me nuts... Netflix is consistently giving me subpar resolution in firefox. It's quite rare that I even get 720p. Yet switching to microsoft edge, boom suddenly it's great.

There used to be some extensions to switch the resolution up on chrome and firefox, but I do believe they're not working anymore.

Another case for piracy I guess.

> Another case for piracy I guess.

The notion here is, because of these annoying steps and gotchas, there will not be 4k rips of their content floating around. I don't keep up on the piracy scene these days but I have to imagine that it can still be done, as with the setup from the blog. So goes the story of DRM, it is a painful step that doesn't quite prevent piracy - but if you're netflix or other streaming services, you're working closely with the implementors of the DRM tech (microsoft, widevine, others) and you're not going to just throw in the towel given that it's always a work in progress.

Sometimes there are also licensing requirements around having DRM attached, probably applies to Netflix in certain cases (although less and less these days).

This is because of DRM integrations. If any part of the chain between netflix and secure memory in your display cannot be verified, or does not meet some standard, you get the degraded experience.

Change user-agent to impersonate Edge.

This is why I won't pay for premium resolution upgrades. It's too much of a hassle to ensure the entire video chain is providing what I paid for.

It's more than that, Edge has far more DRM in it.

I believe this is because Edge is capable of decrypting and displaying DRM-protected 4K streams. I don't think it's just Netflix being difficult.

Requiring draconian DRM that doesn’t work everywhere with confusing and arbitrary restrictions for paying customers IS Netflix being difficult.

If they removed the DRM, they'd get a lot of resistance licensing shows. As long as content-producers insist on DRM, Netflix has to use DRM.

I believe their licence terms are also the reason you can download some Netflix videos to your phone/Windows 10 machine, but not others.

There are also some that can only be downloaded limited number of times (a year). Example - Gotham, at least in my country.

Uhh ... what? What does the word "download" mean in that context?

I mean if you download it once, you have it.

The content Netflix produces itself is also DRM-infested, isn't it? That excuse doesn't work anymore.

Also, for 5.1 surround sound, no browser will do, you must use the Windows 10 app. (That's if you're playing from a PC, of course.)


> I really wish they'd just allow up to 4K streaming on all main browsers

Do all the major browsers support this?

> Also, for 5.1 surround sound, no browser will do, you must use the Windows 10 app.

Yep, and when you have done that don‘t forget to manually guess and set your video output refresh rate because the Netflix can‘t be bothered to switch and match the output to the frame rate of the content. For movies it’s very likely 24p and you don‘t want to have that interpolated to 60 Hz.

Wow, they should really make that clearer, especially since IIRC they charge for 4K streaming...

This is probably how they get away with providing 4K without destroying their network: by making people think they are getting 4K when most are really are just watching 720p

If you don’t realise it’s not 4K, maybe it’s not worth the extra cost

Yeah, that's why they should say something. I was not aware I was getting lower quality, I thought the movies look awful.

Why are you paying for it?

Exactly, I am not anymore. I wouldn't be at all if I knew it. I'm not watching much and most of the time it's Star Trek TNG or similarly aged stuff, so I didn't realize this might be the case. The girlfriend watches (way) more.

Most people don't watch it on computer monitors, so most people actually are getting 4k. None of this applies to streaming boxes or smart TVs.

You know what Smart TVs do, right?

(I'm just saying, because apparently there were people unaware they are paying to get screwed from all sides at once)


They have only been lying about this since the beginning and never stopped. So has Spotify.

Were you also paying for gold-plated HDMI with built-in virus scanner?

I thought people were voluntarily buying in to this bullshit, because they feel the obligation to financially support the content industry. I mean that's what everybody who thinks this is important is going on about all the time. None of them are seriously arguing you actually get a good deal out of it.

This is a joke. They charge me for "Full HD" and don't deliver it? I just downgraded to the cheaper plan with lower definition. If that's what I'm getting, anyway...

I mean how is this even legal?

I'm not a lawyer, but this sounds like valid grounds for a class-action lawsuit.

Their advertising touts their 4K streaming and HDR quality, but then in practice they silently downgrade most non-television devices to HD resolutions and SDR. There's a footnote in some tech support article if you know where to look, that's it.

Under Australian consumer protection law, for example, this kind of deceptive or false advertising is flat-out illegal, and comes with eye-watering fines. Telecommunications companies have had huge fines for saying their Internet is "broadband" when it wasn't qualifying, for example.

If it wasn't such an enormous pain in the arse, I would love to get the ball rolling on a lawsuit, because flagrantly anti-consumer behaviour like this needs to stop.

Look at this this way: If you ask NetFlix about why they insist on DRM, particularly when most of their content is available in glorious 4K on certain pirate-themed bays, they mumble some excuse about contracts with their content providers. However, a huge chunk of their content is made by Netflix!

That's like a self-employed person saying "Sorry, this is company policy. My boss told me I have to do this nonsensical bad thing."

It's just absurd.

There's a pandemic overwhelming the world right now.

You're going to sue Netflix for maybe $1 in damages per user?

Netflix gets to do whatever because there's a pandemic??

Do you watch netflix on a computer in a web browser? If not, this isn't an issue.

Yes, that's why I'm downgrading. I'm on FF.

After diligent conditioning by Netflix, I've come to enjoy 720p, apparently. On the plus side it means I can pay them less.

These numbers seem to roughly map DRM "security levels" and allowed resolution levels. Basically, on platforms that support hardware Widevine (or some other DRM product) ie. "strongest security", 1080p+ is allowed, as there is a low risk of the warez Scene™ being able to tap the decrypted media – HDMI splitters that can strip HDCP 2.2 are hard to come by.

On platforms with only software DRM (tl;dr an obfuscated binary blob distributed along your browser that does some form of AES decryption), only low resolution streams are available because there is a good chance some folks somewhere have tooling to intercept the decrypted media.

> HDMI splitters that can strip HDCP 2.2 are hard to come by.

Ask B&H folks. They always have them.

Microsoft really wants users signed in to a Microsoft account on Windows. One of their main leverages for this is encouraging people to use the app store in Windows, which doesn't fully work if you're just logged in to a local account

It doesn't? Seems to work fine for me...

That sounds awful.

I'm on MacOS Mojave and the main issue I have with Netflix is that every few minutes there is a white flash for a few ms. In Safari and Chrome if i remember correctly. But I never investigated that as I don't stream a lot.

> The video will stutter unless I set both my monitors to the same refresh rate. As you can imagine, it's somewhat annoying to have to lower the refresh rate of my main monitor from 144Hz to 60Hz whenever I want to watch Netflix.

This is a Windows 10 bug. Even things like mouse movement in the 60Hz will make the 144Hz stutter. It's especially noticeable in games.

I think this is the one you need. Interesting, thanks for the suggestion to search for it!


I did not read the whole thing, but could it simply be that Netflix detects whatever technique the author is trying to use and that something is up, so it defaults to non-4K streaming?


It looks like he didn't reverse-engineer the Netflix data protocol. What he did is use a HDCP-stripper box to get access to a raw decoded HDMI signal. The HDCP-stripper also had a screenshot function which he used to get snapshots of the video he was playing.

He also monitored how much network traffic was being used while playing Netflix videos to get an estimate of the bitrate that was being played. The 4K videos were consistently around 18Mbps, which is reasonable.

FWIW, you can (normally) get a HDCP stripper from AliExpress for $10. This isn't particularly exotic hardware.

There's nothing in there about 4K not being 4K, just some griping about low bitrates.

On computers you can access some debug stats https://www.reddit.com/r/netflix/comments/2fkylx/hidden_netf... and Roku also has it https://community.roku.com/t5/Channel-Issues-Questions/Someh...

I think in the end the author's only complaint was that it was difficult to figure out what bitrate the Chromecast was streaming at, is a pretty minor problem. It reads like a complaint post, but that seems to just be the author's writing style.

You're technially right but conceptually he did show that the bitrate isn't in the normal 4k ballpark.

There's likely little or no benefit on using a 4k resolution at this bitrate.

In his experiment the Chroomecast on wifi gets a ~6 Mbps stream for 4k, which is about 20% of an average quality Handbrake encoded 4k stream. The surprise was that in his experiment Apple TV got so much higher bitrate. Market segmentation?

It's possible to capture the output and analyze the detail so I don't want to hear about what's "likely".

Exactly! I also just found it. Don't know how I didn't manage to find it before. The comments were quite critical.


The resolution on Netflix is not a useful indicator of anything (other than an upper bound on image quality). The "1080" Netflix for me usually looks nothing like the average FHD encode of a movie through other channels. A Netflix "4k" stream downscaled to 1080p would probably be closer to normal FHD encode quality.

This is not really surprising as most of the audience is very insensitive to quality.

> When doing that he found out that Netflix streaming in 4k isn't actually 4k.

Well, after so many people praising streaming i wanted to check what this means. According to wikipedia the server adapts to the clients bandwidth. So you can get UHD with the quality of mpeg1.

> Does anyone know what I am talking about? I've thought about this pist several times in the past weeks.

Yes. That's why i decided that streaming is not really a solution.

It is really amazing how they are selling crap claiming that they have better quality. Damn, even an AM transmission sounds better.

This is pure bullshit. If Netflix won't commit to it's part of the deal (FULL HD and 4K) then why should I commit to my part (13.99 monthly)?

You cannot decide by yourself to lower the quality of your services and keep the price same.

Sometimes I wish I had enough money and time to seek "legal retribution" from these type of situations. I would love for this case to make it to the European Court in Strasbourg.

"The video-streaming provider said lowering the picture quality would reduce Netflix data consumption by 25%.

But it said viewers would still find the picture quality good."

How would they know what I find still good, if I found it still good than I wouldn't have taken the premium plan!! So many fallacies in this way of thinking..

You know, for a while I thought “the doors aren’t automatic at the REI” might be the ultimate first world problem, but now I think “I have to suffer through my pandemic passtime shows in standard definition? where are my LAWYERS?” might be in first place.


I don't have problem with netflix reducing it. I have problem with netflix not reducing price together.

They're essentially painting themselves in glory AT THE PRICE OF THEIR CUSTOMERS.

I don't even have a problem with Netflix not reducing the price. It think they should take the hit in place of their customers, but whatever, if your problem right now is that you're paying for 4k and not getting it, suck it up.

But really the praise for Netflix is a bit off tone - they're not making any sacrifice at all.

"If you don't get what you pay for, then suck it up."

Remember some Netflix clients pay MORE to enjoy higher quality. If Netflix artificially limits that quality, no matter the reason, then they shouldn't be charging that full price.

Netflix is getting the best part of it: charging the same money, paying less for bandwidth, and they excuse themselves because the EU asked them to do it.

It's the ISPs that should be solving this via QoS, but of course it's the ISPs that have the politicians in their pockets. No commissioner is going to demand them to do anything.

We pay for schools and our children stay home.

We pay for street maintenance and we're locked in our houses.

We pay for government and elections are being postponed.

We pay for healthcare and people are not getting the care they need.

We keep paying, because if we stop after the epidemic there won't be schools, there won't be road maintenance companies, there won't be a functioning government, there won't be hospitals, because they will have run out of money.

4K Netflix? Suck it up, or feel free to sue them. Courts are in lockdown as well so you might have to wait a few years to get your 10$ back.

Because compulsory taxes that pay for a public good are exactly the same as a private company where users may elect to pay for one of several tiers of service.

The point is that service levels for almost everything are degraded currently due to nobody's fault.

That's not true. Most ISPs are not having congestion problems.

Are you really comparing public, vital services to Netflix?

Do you work for netflix or something? these are some heavy comparisons you're making. Netflix is a premium service and they charge a premium rate for it! 15 bucks a month could buy Disney+ too ya know ;)

It's a global pandemic right now. Netflix has taken immediate action in a way that matters (ensuring internet access) and has yet to take action in a way that doesn't matter nearly as much (making their high paying customers happy). Yes, you pay more for HD content. But people are dying, so chill.

I am looking at their plans (at least how it appears in Europe) and the difference between the plans are:

- video quality

- number of screens

I for example play for both differences. So if they reduce only one for me it is still good.

Their pricing plans are not black and white only about video quality. Each plan increases both video quality and screen numbers.

That also means reducing the wages of employees, people not whinig is the only shimmer of hope we have at keeping the economy the same when we emerge from this. Sure, I can't go to my gym, but if we all cancel now, there won't be a gym when I am allowed to go again. At the same time my income might, at some point, also be affect. But, as it is now it is not (yet), so I'll keep it going.

I have to admit I did cancel my 360 euros/month public transport subscription. Their service is also reduce by a lot. So who am I to judge.

If your gym won't be able to re-open after this thing is over, it only shows the quality of management of the gym as well as of the government. It should not be your burden to bear and build a buffer for them for their mistakes. Someone higher up pocketed all the profits while things were good and is now not ready to invest that money back into it to keep it afloat and that's THEIR problem. They have the money, let them put it back into the economy.

Cancel your membership and stop giving into the bullshit that people are feeding to you. If you want to help, help people, not corporations.

> If your gym won't be able to re-open after this thing is over, it only shows the quality of management of the gym as well as of the government.

Yeah, right. So if I am to open a gym, or any other kind of business, I should have it in my business plan that I must have a big enough reserve to survive having my shop closed for months with only days notice. How many businesses do you think will pass that test? I think zero.

Maybe society is more than just the economic transactions that take place and maybe that gym should be opened despite failing this new test, because it is important that we have gyms that keep people fit.

In many areas, the gym business was very competitive, and the profits were very small, if any.

It may be that whoever has the deepest pockets survives and others go out of business.

I guess the question is how long they have to bleed money until the customers come back.

The owner is just some dude, granted he has a nicer car than me :)

Where do you live? 360 euros per month is extremely high for a public transport subscription.

It's an unlimited subscription, because I travel 100 km (back and forth, so 200 total) per day usually (well, I do work at home a lot and on the train itself). It's a life choice, I know. Love the city I live, love the company I work for... Can't choose.

How do you know that they won't repay the additional fee or make up for it in some other way? They haven't even issued a press release about this yet.

Yours is a fun take, which I enjoyed :)

I’m sure we agree that there are legitimate grievances here about consumer rights†, that are worth thinking about.

As the most powerful entities in the economy — not even by virtue of the goods they produce, but by the amount of people they employ and the money they spend — companies like Netflix have to uphold their social contract and be seen to be upholding their social contract!

† In the Netflix example, not the REI example.

Remember what the opposite side of the coin is. This isn't a consequence of the virus. This is offsetting the other first world problem of slightly slow internet. There's no greater cause being served here.

This is not "other first world problem", it's an unprecedented situation in which a good chunk of the world's population needs to be kept at home for extended periods of time. Preserving morale is important for preserving social distancing, which is important for dealing with the pandemic.

Not to mention, everyone who isn't on Netflix now is probably videoconferencing. Which also elevates this problem to "important for preserving the economy" level.

You can do plenty of morale-preserving things on a slightly janky connection. And being worried about some visual stutter on your teleconference is solidly in the unimportant problem pile.

Teleconferencing very quickly becomes unusable on a really congested line.

Specially in Germany where the quality of the internet connections is really bad.

There are a lot of vital services using the internet. If internet grinds to a halt because everybody has to stay home watching Netflix, and vital services have their internet access reduced, then scaling down Netflix bandwidth makes sense.

During a pandemic which has forced a huge number of people to stay at home and is currently crashing the economy and costing hundreds of lives per day, it could help to be a little more sympathetic to measures like this. They might not be perfect, because everyone is having to react so quickly to what is going on, but we can appreciate that this is not a normal event and the vast majority of companies have never planned for it (random ISPs, for example). If this article [1] from Netflix is to be believed, 4K uses five times the bandwidth of HD, and is surely an easy target for something that can be traded off while not affecting people's moral wellbeing too much.

Suffering a video quality decrease would seem a small price to pay for not causing further problems, and perhaps once this is all over, or at least we've stopped flying by the seats of our pants, we can see if people should receive refunds of a few dollars a month.

[1] https://help.netflix.com/en/node/306

Couldn't agree more, I have the HD Netflix account and I literally couldn't give a flying fuck if they drop to SD.

I'm far more worried about my mum than whether TV is SD for a month during a global pandemic.

Fuck me people are ridiculous at times.

It's not either or...

While in principle I agree that luxuries like Netflix should be secondary to core internet services, at the same time I'm worried about the slippery slope that is net neutrality.

I mean we've had a lot of slippery slopes recently, things like the government Demanding access to location data. I never agreed to share this information with my government. I did not agree to have my ISP or Google or etc to share this data.

Except, people are PAYING for that upgrade.

Two or four euros per month. Call the army! I would start a class action suite. /s

This stupid selfish attitude is not helping. Netflix will probably issue a statement that they will refund all those affected. And if you don't like it, downgrade! You probably have plenty of time if this is an issue for you.

If two or four euros is so little as to be entirely negligible, and if anyone who would care about throwing such a small amount of money away deserved to be ridiculed, why does Netflix ask for it? They could just let the customer keep the money since it doesn't matter, right? If fact, everyone could just send me this silly sum that doesn't matter and they shouldn't complain about.

Exactly, this is less than a single one of the overpriced Starbucks coffees that those same people probably purchase without spending a single thought on it.

Being empathetic to these measures is the right call, although I do find that much more important for brick & mortar businesses than Netflix.

What I am telling here is, if you are unable to meet the criteria that you are getting paid for, then you need to refund the difference. They are not doing that.

It is not about being selfish here, think more about it.

It's quite sad to see such an attitude in these difficult times.

It's not like Netflix is struggling though this pandemic. Their subscriber numbers are probably skyrocketing right now.

Saying "Internet infrastructure can't handle the current load, we have to restrict service" is fine, but you would expect them to do right by the customer. Not announce the cuts via national news outlets, see how much backlash they get and then decide if they should make concessions to their paying customers.

well it's sad for people to be in favor of netflix. as others pointed out, netflix will probably make a huge amount of money within the timeframe of the virus.

thus reducing the quality for people that PAY for that quality without reducing their invoice is basically a scam. especially because of the pandemic people are short on money. of course people could just downgrade their subscription, unfortunatly some people are not that tech savy as others, so they do not even know what the news is about.


Give them some time! They just decided this.

The attitude of excusing any behavior in a mass panic while shaming those who call out dodgy behavior is only making this entire thing much worse.

> Two or four euros per month.

Times a million or 10 or 50. Add to that the 25% savings on internet egress, which last I checked was still how commercial internet is financed.

The cost of actually providing the content to the consumers is on the ISP which hosts an Open Connect box.

I agree it would make sense for Netflix to give discount to the subscription for the duration of this measure.

You can't fix stupid.

It's amazing how wonderfully liberal and thoughtful people are with other people's money.

You're so understanding.

I'd like to sell you a subscription service if you're interested?

Don't you think it's okay for us to be slightly understanding and forgiving that there are some individuals and companies that aren't simply capable of flawlessly and immediately adjusting to major changes in their realities at the drop of a hat? I'm sure their usage is through the roof, and they probably didn't predict a pandemic with quarantines into their infrastructure improvements modeled around predictable usage.

Also, it wouldn't surprise me at all if ISPs are also feeling a bit of a strain, and are putting some degree of pressure on streaming platforms to lighten their loads if possible.

Just cut the price to match SD plan and everything is OK.

Will Netflix be understanding and forgiving if pandemic would cut our income, so we wouldn't be capable of paying for subscription and started pirating their originals?

> Will Netflix be understanding and forgiving if pandemic would cut our income, so we wouldn't be capable of paying for subscription and started pirating their originals?

Perhaps. Amazon Videos and Pornhub Premium are both free in Italy, for example. I don't see anything about Netflix being free there, though.

The ISPs have been under that pressure for decades and dragged their feet because they had monopolies to protect them.

Getting pity for them when the proverbial fecal matter hits the fan is a big ask IMO.

On Netflix’s side, they sure are in a hard place, I’d wish govs. would foot part of the bill, as it’s directly helping people stay at home.

I think it's times like this where the government should just sigh and once this is over, come back to have a very stern conversation with ISPs.

Unfortunately internet is critical infrastructure, and kicking and screaming "this is bull" doesn't help alleviate traffic.

I'm in Europe, I'm kind of "wtf?" about this, but I get it. I'd rather have lower quality netflix than a broken internet where I can't work from home and have to figure out how I earn my paycheck.

This position is flawed IMO.

We postpone the hard conversation to get through the crisis. Then after the crisis the hard conversation never happens.

i guess how I take things personally vs how an org takes it, but I don't think it would be productive to berate someone for mistakes made while they're trying to fix/respond to it. At that point what's done is done and all that matters is handling it.

It'd just add to the cognitive load and noise.

But you're right, people also forget to come back and be like "let's talk" - at the same time - given how relatively embarrassing this is for a government (and how economy-critical it is) I'm definite this conversation will be had.

There will be a lot of very stern conversations when this is over...

Nobody gives a fuck about not being able to watch 4K. They just want to not pay 4K when you can't get 4K.

That is because ISPs in Europe are a piece of shit, maximizing profits of their users while minimizing investments in the infrastructure.

This is not about Corona, this is not about "extraordinary situations", this is about European online infrastructure being garbage and now that it's getting really used for once, everything starts to crumble.

Europe has very different regions. Some countries have the best infrastructure, with nearly everyone on glassfiber, while others only have cripled ASDL.

You really cannot make a statement like 'Europe has a poor internet infrastructure', without (i) comparing it to somwhere else and (ii) highlighting the differences in regions.

I mean, I'm pretty confident that everyone in Europe has better internet than everyone in Cuba or Zimbabwe.

You do know that EU begged them to do it right ? So they will be thanking them not suing them.

They are doing EU a favor, with this one.

[1] https://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-in-talks-with-netfl...

[2] https://www.engadget.com/2020/03/19/eu-netflix-sd-streaming-...

This will free up critical bandwidth that will enable more work from home and remote teleconferencing. We can’t increase available bandwidth overnight. It is better to suffer slightly decreased internet speed compared to lots of dropped packets if Internet pipes are clogged.

It's not like ISPs could have build and extended their bandwidth over the last years, for example with the 40 €/month my father pays for < 16 MBit internet connection.

That is not the point. It is what it is right now, and we need solutions that will work right now. Doesn't really matter why, we need solutions now.

After the pandemic, we can discuss the whys, and ,make sure it doesn't happen in the future.

The problem is, now is the only time when something actually can be done. When this overs, we're going back to "everything's fine" until some crisis happens again...

Nobody will do anything once it's over. Nothing more to say.

Where is that? I think internet quality varies quite a lot within the EU, urban vs rural, etc so we can'treally generalise. I pay less than 40eur for a 600mbit connection.

In Germany, 40 €/month can get you anything between <16 MBit (more like 4 MBit where I come from/my family lives) and 200 MBit.

While the infrastructure is quite stable where it has been extended, those rural areas ("not prioritized for broadband builds") are also affected by the lockdown, people have to work from home, use the internet all day etc. pp. In those places, the infrastructure reaches its limits pretty quickly all the time. This will cause _serious_ damage to local businesses for no good reason other than ISPs unwillingness to invest there.

My parents pay a similar amount for 70% of a 16/1 MBit connection. But that is not quite rural, it's one of the richest towns in the country and part of a big agglomeration.

counter-anecdote: i pay 40 euros for 200 Mbit


I get 100 MBit for 40 €/month. As mentioned in another comment, it's not about Netflix but doing home office during lockdown, remote work in general and more. People in those "underdeveloped" areas are really fucked, altough they pay the same money that I do. They just don't simply get anything (better) for that.

I pay €24,95/month for 1gpbs down / 200mbps up (ftth).

Are people deliberately missing the point? Netflix kicked everyone down a plan tier, but continues to charge at the original plan tier.

If you get kicked down, the invoicing should match that.

Actually FTA:

> Out of these two, Netflix says it will cut its streaming bitrates.

They aren't cutting resolution i.e. kicking people down a tier. If you pay for HD, you will get HD... at a reduced quality.

If this is important to you right now, cancel your membership, right now. Others will happily share the bandwidth you relinquish (says someone who just set the bandwidth limit to "LOW" because my kids are not in school as are hundreds of other households in my area. They couldn't care less about the quality.)

Exactly; vote with your wallet, not comments on HN.

From what I'm reading in the article, they're cutting the bitrates and not the resolution. This would mean they're still serving you FullHD/4K but with worse quality.

From a quick search, I can't find any guarantees on what bitrates Netflix will serve you. In fact, they already use variable bitrates that can differ per episode of a series.

I don't see your legal retribution having much chance of succeeding.

This was basically requested by the EU so we don't run into anymore trouble by crashing the interwebs.

> I would love for this case to make it to the European Court in Strasbourg.

Strasbourg is the European Court of Human Rights. Complaining to them about a lack of detail in your Netflix stream during a pandemic will probably not give you the results you want.

Dude, this was asked of NetFlix by the European government, it's not something they are doing by themselves...


This might be the most entitled thing I've read all month.

You might even be more entitled than the toilet paper hoarders.

Reducing quality is fine, but they should reduce the price in line with that.

How is this not completely fair?

It's fair but the way they wrote it is not.

You have to sit at home and watch Netflix in SD, whilst there are people out there literally putting their lives at risk to save others?

Poor you!

Did nobody read the article? There are so many comments here about going to SD, but FTA they aren't reducing resolution, rather just the bitrate:

> Several factors influence how much data is used when streaming a movie online.

> One of them is video resolution, including whether a video is high-definition (HD) or ultra-high definition 4K.

> Another is bitrate, which influences how clear and smooth videos look when streamed online

> Videos with a higher bitrate tend to look less "blocky" or pixelated, but use more data.

> Out of these two, Netflix says it will cut its streaming bitrates.

It's $€2 per month difference. You still get part of the benefits, such as access for more devices. While I'd appreciate getting those €2 honestly I find it pretty small minded if that's your first concern. They were asked to reduce load to avoid issues for vital instructure and all the people working from home. I appreciate and am grateful that they followed this request. It's for the benefit of all and if they save a few € in the process there really is no reason to be upset about it.

Where is 4K a 2 euro per month difference?

So.. click the downgrade button?

Click the "cancel subscription" button. Unfortunately none of them take effect immediately.

And trigger a chargeback on the credit card for services not rendered as agreed upon. Pay the 720p fee as a settlement,

There are a lot of people responding so I will answer it this way for visibility.

I HAVE NO PROBLEM with Netflix reducing video quality. What I do have a problem with is Netflix KEEPING THE PRICE THE SAME.

If my local gym chain (Gyms4You) can freeze memberships for EVERYONE and not price it in than Netflix can atleast do the same regarding the "premium" plan.

I understand that this is an unprecented crisis, but that doesn't mean we don't have to follow the rules which we are able to follow without risking our health and well being.

You are free to cancel your Netflix subscription or take less quality plan, Netflix is not doing this because of their backend, They are doing it because ISP requested them. Alternative would be something like ISPs throttling Netflix themselves.

Before ranting on HN, repeating the same point that's made 50 times in this discussion, how about giving Netflix time to respond?

The operations department won't have had the authority to give a €4 refund to everyone overnight (in Europe). They're probably working from home. See what happens i a few days time.

Defending Netflix here is asinine. They have handled this communication poorly, plain and simple. All they had to do was acknowledge that cutting bitrates might raise concerns about the quality of the service and the amount they charge and that they would look into it.

This is a brand image issue and is exactly the type of issue that should escalate quickly to the CEO if necessary.

>I would love for this case to make it to the European Court in Strasbourg

Are you seriously implying that this is a human rights issue? Because that's what the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is for.

If you're talking about the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg this does't really make sense either but at least somewhat.

> Sometimes I wish I had enough money and time to seek "legal retribution" from these type of situations.

I also used to brood over “if I had infinite money” revenge fantasies. They lost their appeal when I realised the answer is the same in all cases: “if I had that kind of money, this wouldn’t have bothered me”.

I don't think that's necessarily true. Governments routinely fine companies (and people) small amounts of money. They do not need it; the fine isn't about them getting money. It's about deterring people from negative behavior.

In some cases, bailouts make sense. In the ISP industry, they don't make much sense. ISPs were offered a monopoly and operate their networks at approximately 95% profit. Now there is a crisis and they've been spending that 95% not on network upgrades, but on dividends or stock buybacks, and it's all blowing up. I don't think the governments need to subsidize that. The Internet should be bad during this crisis so that people are motivated to fix the problems after the crisis. Asking one content provider to subsidize them doesn't help anything in the long run, and if there isn't pain now, this will all be forgotten after the Coronavirus issue.

Things like the airlines are different. They bought multi-million dollar jets with the assumption that they'd be in the air 22 hours a day. Now they're on the ground, and the financials simply don't work under those conditions. That is the the kind of thing society needs to insure against (if they want air travel, anyway, which does seem to be quite useful).

In the end, I'm very cynical about all of this. Sometimes I wonder if the whole "flatten the curve" thing is being promoted because it's an election year and when your whole family dies from COVID-19, you're a lot less likely to show up at a rally to eliminate Obamacare. We need to cover our eyes and stick our fingers in our ears to think the status quo is OK, so here we are. People will invest a lot into maintaining the status quo, be it healthcare or shitty ISPs.

> Governments routinely fine companies (and people) small amounts of money. They do not need it; the fine isn't about them getting money. It's about deterring people from negative behavior.

That’s not a personal revenge fantasy. Your post is unrelated to my point.

I read yesterday that someone managed to hack Netflix' data packets and discovered their 4K is not actually 4K either; if that is the case, they're liable for false advertising.

People are dying, you can handle a slightly worse video quality.

That's not the point though. My gym was closed and everyone's membership was automatically paused, they don't get to keep charging people.

I'm fine with not going to the gym and I'm fine with a lower Netflix quality. But you shouldn't charge me for a service that you're simply not providing anymore.

Netflix should downgrade everyone's plan automatically or just charge them less.

As i understand they couldn't just charge less or change your plan because of bureacracy and all legal things. What they can do is give free month to all who was affected by this change. Or you could cancel your subscription if you can't live without 4k

"We acknowledge that this decision impacts the quality that our customers have come to expect. We appreciate your patience as we all face these trying times together, and we will explore additional options to make sure our customers are treated fairly and are fully satisfied with our service."

That's basically all they had to say. Something to the effect of "This sucks but it's necessary and needed to be done quickly. We'll try to make it up to you." Then figure out whether to refund people on the higher plans or give them a free month or credit on their account or something.

"This is pure bullshit."


"Netflix should downgrade everyone's plan automatically or just charge them less"

The way it was said in the parent comment was ridiculous.

I'm not sure that the quality lowering already started but the last two movies I watched yesterday and today had really poor quality. I mean they definitely seemed like an average pirated torrent not the HD content I'm used to see on Netflix.

My internet connection is fine tho. Still low latency, no jitter.

I unsubscribed, when I learned they don't deliver the proclaimed resolution to Linux browsers. How about you warn me about that beforehand? They know my Browser's fingerprint. That's just a scam.

So cancel?

Any business-customer agreements can be overridden by government mandates in an emergency. So no, this is no bs.

Have you by any chance heard of the concept of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_majeure ? You can get out of basically any legal obligation whatsoever if the forces at hand are beyond your control. And COVID certainly is.

Again it's not Netflix, It's the ISP that are crying because ppl use to much bandwidth.

And it's Netflix charging extra for extra quality which they now won't deliver.

If they charge everyone the SD package price, noone will really complain. But they will continue charging for a service they're not providing anymore.

It's like food delivery man continuing to charge you for cancelled deliveries because they were found to have salmonella.

I look forward to reading about this comment on n-gate.

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