Carriers may soon offer unlimited video watching on your phone, said Netflix CEO

Mobile operators will soon offer data plans that would give users unlimited video streaming, but cap usage for other things, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings predicted on Monday.
Photo: AFP

Mobile operators will soon offer data plans that would give users unlimited video streaming, but cap usage for other things, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings predicted on Monday.

Watching Netflix on mobile is growing but data caps on plans from mobile carriers still pose a challenge to users wanting to stream video on the go.

Unlimited data caps are currently very expensive.

Hastings said the likelihood is that carriers will create a two-tier system where video data is unlimited.

"What we are going to see is I think, a number of companies pioneering new ways of offering services … where it's unlimited video data but it's limited to say one megabit speed, it's a lower speed but you get unlimited data at that," Hastings said at the Mobile World Congress trade show.

"That turns out to be really efficient on the networks, so the operator can offer unlimited viewing and what we've done is invest in the codecs, the video encoders, so at half a megabit you get incredible picture quality on a four or five inch screen."

Hastings said that the company has managed to produce great quality video at a bandwith of 300 kilabits per second and is hoping to get that down to 200 kilabits per second.

Essentially, this means that under Hastings' proposals of unlimited data at one megabit per second, the streaming of high quality video would be easy.

"So we are getting more and more efficient at using operators' bandwidth. In exchange what they are doing is trying to figure out … is how can we offer … unlimited video. It's a very compelling proposition," Hastings said.

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