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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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