Netflix testing ‘location tracking’ to improve video quality

By Xite - August 2, 2019
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According to Netflix, the test has been concluded now and it ran only on Android devices with a select number of users. There is no official word from Netflix whether this will be rolled out widely.

Popular streaming service Netflix is testing a feature, which uses your device's physical location to improve its video streaming quality. A few users have reported that Netflix has been tracking their locations.

‘We are continually testing ways to give our members a better experience. This was part of a test to see how we can improve video playback quality when a member is on the go. Only some accounts are in the test, and we don’t currently have plans to roll it out,’ Netflix said in a statement.

While for many (including me) this sounds weird, for it hardly makes sense for a media service to ask you for your location. However, a few industry experts speculate that Netflix could utilise location tracking data to tweak the buffer parameters, switching to a different video codec when a user is in limited network connectivity.

As the strength of your mobile data connection varies depending on the way you travel such as taking the metro or a bus or a train, it seems that Netflix is trying to explore the possibility of automatically adjusting the video quality based on the user’s cellular data strength to avoid buffering or other content interruptions.

The company recently introduced a cheap mobile-only plan in India later this year. With the Rs 199 mobile only data plan, Netflix aims to gain more market share than its rivals, such as Prime Video and Hotstar. Apart from the Rs 199 plan, Netflix also offers three monthly plans in the country, which are priced between Rs 500 and Rs 800.

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