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STENHOUSE37
First Poster

Change stream bitrate

My home internet is through a mobile phone provider (way out in the sticks!), and watching a 2 hour movie last night used up 4GB, almost one tenth of my monthly data. It's using the android app to cast to a chromecast. Any way of changing stream quality to drop data use to something lower? I can do this with Netflix, and it uses 300mb per hour. Or is this functionality available with the Now TC Stick or Set Top Box?

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6 Replies
4268 Champion 4
Champion 4

Re: Change stream bitrate

@STENHOUSE37 there is not a way to reduce this on specific devices. You may find different devices have different bit rates @Jason-C can you advise on this.


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Jason-C
Community Administrator

Re: Change stream bitrate

Hi @STENHOUSE37,

Thanks for getting in touch.

As @4268 says, unfortunately there's no way to change the maximum bitrate on any device. We use an adaptive bitrate which aims to give everyone the best experience based on available bandwidth and network capacity.

We don't have a full list of maximum bitrates available I'm afraid! Although you can likely expect it to be lower on mobile devices.

Appreciate this doesn't solve the issue, but I will pass this comment back to the teams as it may be something we could build into the app in future.

Thanks,

Jason

ChrisWoods
Contributor 2

Re: Change stream bitrate

+1 for ability to choose higher (or lower!) bit rates on all devices.

Ongoing issues with NOW TV on Android and Smart TV:

  • No subtitles available in the Android app. Major accessibility issue.

  • Make the Android player capable of being "pinch-zoomed" while playing video - to expand 16:9 content to fill an 18.5:9 aspect ratio display (like you can already do on phones like the Samsung S9 with YouTube and Netflix). At the moment the NOW TV Android app awkwardly handles non-16:9 displays and on films you end up with a black 'picture-frame' effect, where you have both horizontal and vertical black bars.

See how the interface is aligned to the edges of the display, but the video is 'framed' by black in the centre? Taking an already low resolution video and making it even harder to watch!IMG_1135 50pc.jpg

Black box all around the image...

IMG_1134.JPG

  • Higher video resolution and higher audio quality for all devices is well overdue. HLS is not preventing this, and Android ExoPlayer is perfectly capable of providing a manual select function for specific quality tier. It just requires Sky to stump up for the negligible extra bandwidth.

  • The quality (bit rate) of the sound on Android player is dismal, it sounds very low bit rate. Jangly, mushy and indistinct, with loads of audible artifacts, just like the equivalent Sky Go streams. Audio should be 128 kbps AAC LC at a minimum, not the 32/48 kbps it is at the moment.

  • Stop treating mobile devices as the poor relation of STB or Smart TVs, they deserve just as high a bit rate and resolution stream as other devices.

    Given mobile devices' screens are only getting larger and higher resolution - my last three phones have had 2K displays - the low resolution of 720p is really obvious. If users are concerned about using up mobile data, give them a switch to cap the maximum resolution or bit rate, or allow it stream-by-stream with a selector - again, HLS is capable of this functionality.

  • Watching on Samsung Smart TV app or Android, films have a noticeably poor downscaling algorithm applied to make them 720p. There's lots of horizontal 'banding' (smooth diagonal lines become stepped and jagged) which is very obvious during there's slow camera moves or in fine detail. Cars 3 is a great example of how visual quality suffers with NOW TV encoding. This is not a byproduct of H.264, it's Sky's choice of workflow causing it.

  • 50 fps streams are long overdue for programmes originated as interlaced.
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Moxon1511
First Poster

Re: Change stream bitrate

Also +1 to being to change video quality. Genuinely surprised this isn't a feature already!

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twok
First Poster

Re: Change stream bitrate

gets my vote too. just used nearly 4gb of mobile data steaming 3x45 min. episodes to a portable TV whilst caravanning. SD option is what’s required as HD isn’t desirable in these circumstances.
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Phil88
First Poster

Re: Change stream bitrate

A late reply but it may be useful to someone...

 

You can restrict the bitrate in your wireless router if you're willing to.

Look for QoS (Quality of Service) settings for the LAN and there should be the ability to set a maximum. Sky say you need 2.5MB/s (less for mobile devices).

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