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European Netflix Users Say Streaming Service Continues to Degrade Video Quality

Stephanie Sengwe

Back in March, Netflix scored major points as it became the first major streaming service to lower video quality in an effort to preserve internet bandwidth in Europe. Almost two months later, however, Netflix’s noble action is beginning to anger users in Europe as they accuse the streamer of continuously degrading video quality while charging the same prices.

According to Variety, “Netflix customers in Europe and the U.K. say the streamer is still delivering throttled HD and Ultra HD video, in some cases with bit rates at less than 50 percent than usual. They say that has caused noticeable degradation of image quality, including blurring and pixelation, especially on bigger TV screen sizes.”

This is a huge problem for consumers because not only are they receiving sub-par video quality, but the streaming giant continues to charge all plans as though they were operating normally. Netflix’s basic plan offers SD-only streaming, the standard tier offers HD quality while the premium plan offers up to Ultra HD for select content.

“As network conditions improve we will begin lifting the bit-rate caps we introduced in March on a country-by-country basis,” a rep for the company told Variety. “In the last two months we’ve added more than four times the normal capacity to deal with the increased demand and help maintain the quality of our service for members.”

Netflix began lowering video quality at the behest of EU internal market and services commissioner Thierry Breton. At the time, Breton was afraid the influx of users would make for slower internet bandwidth, leaving the continent at risk for not being able to communicate speedily if needed. Netflix implemented the changes first, then other services such as Amazon, YouTube and Facebook all followed suit.

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