Innovation11 January 2021
At Netflix, we put our members in control: great entertainment through our service is available whenever they want it, wherever they are, on whatever device they want to use. When they come to Netflix, people expect a seamless, uninterrupted experience.
In order to stream Netflix to our members in 190+ countries, video needs to be converted into a coded form - this is referred to as an encode. We recently created new encoding formats that deliver content at the same or higher quality at a reduced file size (or bitrate). These more efficient encodes provide a big benefit to members, who can stream higher quality video and audio for the same or less bandwidth, and to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), who see reduced demand on their networks.
As our more efficient encodes are rolling out on a larger scale at Netflix, we have updated the ISP Speed Index report with a new performance measurement so it is compatible with the changing streaming and encoding landscape. The ISP Speed Index is designed to measure which ISPs provide the best prime time Netflix streaming experience. Previously, the way we measured ISP performance meant that two ISPs who deliver the same Megabits per second (Mbps) could still have different quality experiences depending on what device is being used to watch. The new performance measurement accounts for differences across what device(s) and encoding scheme(s) each member is on and which Netflix plan they have. We’re essentially asking, “If all things were equal (excluding Cellular traffic), how would ISP speeds compare?”
It’s important to note that ISPs who do a terrific job delivering a high quality Netflix experience to members will still rank highly. We’re preventing factors that are outside an ISP’s control, like member device mix, from affecting their speed and ranking.
In addition to updating the ISP speed measurement, we’ve taken this opportunity to update our ISP ranking to be more meaningful and easier to use. ISP speeds will now be rounded to the nearest 0.2 Mbps, instead of the previous 0.01 Mbps, because we don’t feel that quality differences less than 0.2 Mbps are notably different to Netflix members. We’re also allowing ISP performance rankings to include multiple ISPs in the same performance-tier for the first time - for example in the latest report in the United States seven ISPs are all included in the top performance-tier. The latest report also shows seven countries and regions included in the top performance-tier. Thailand, Switzerland, Singapore, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Belgium and Australia all registered an average of 3.8 Mbps in terms of overall speed.
Our goal continues to be to provide our millions of Netflix members entertainment they love with the best viewing experience possible, and the ISP Speed Index will continue to be a useful tool in achieving our goal.