Even though just about every major US wireless provider recently rolled out unlimited data plans, concerns over using too much data keeps many people from streaming Netflix shows on their phone when they’re not connected to Wi-Fi.
That could be less of a concern soon though, as a new Netflix app update means customers will get better video quality while using less data. How will this happen? In short, Netflix will start to rely on Google’s VP9 codec. This means shows can be compressed much more effectively without losing picture quality. A smaller file sizes means better quality when a mobile signal isn’t too strong, and it also means less data usage overall.
For customers, it’s a win-win. It’s especially important for people who live in areas where high speed internet isn’t available yet, and where cell phone signal may not be the strongest at times.
This update does apply only to mobile streams for now, which has a maximum quality of 1080p. At present, Netflix doesn’t have plans to make 4K content available on mobile. That’s only for smart TV, video game consoles, and set top boxes.
But just because Netflix isn’t bringing ultra high definition to mobile yet, that doesn’t mean they’re not trying to make mobile look as good as possible. Netflix will be introducing Mobile HDR support soon, starting with the launch of the LG G6. They’ll also be rolling out Dolby Vision support, giving 10 bit color and maximum brightness, especially compared to a non HDR screen.
As Netflix begins to produce more of their own shows and feature length films, you can expect the number of content offerings to increase. And with Netflix’s attention to mobile, it’ll look better than ever before.
The new Netflix app is available now, and customers will notice the change as soon as they update.