New encoding impacts on Netflix ISP Index

netflixNetflix’s new ‘complexity-based encoding’ is beginning to boost streaming performance of TV shows and movies while using less bandwidth, according to the firm.

In its March ISP Speed Index, Netflix said that its years-long encoding effort, which it announced in December, was starting to impact on its index, with the new encodes resulting in lower monthly speed averages for ISPs.

With about 80% of Netflix’s catalogue now re-encoded, the company said that the group of top performers on its internet service provider index “started moving collectively down” last month and again this month.

“That movement as a group reflects more efficient streaming on those networks due to our encoding work. For example, with the new encodes, the first episode of House of Cards Season 4 streamed 720p starting at 910 Kilobits per second (Kbps) and 1080p starting at 1620Kbps on TVs; previously the lowest bit rates for those same streams were 2350Kbps and 4300Kbps, respectively,” said Netflix.

In March 2016, the Netherlands had the fastest global average web speeds of any Netflix country at 3.88 Mbps. Luxembourg came second with average speeds of 3.83Mbps, followed by Belgium at 3.8Mbps and Switzerland at 3.74Mbps. The US failed to make the top 20 with average speeds of 3.27Mbps.

The Netflix ISP Speed Index is a measure of primetime Netflix performance on a particular ISP and not a measure of overall performance for other services or data that may travel across the specific ISP network, according to the company.

It added that faster Netflix performance generally means better picture quality, quicker start times and fewer interruptions.