WWDC: Netflix With Adaptive Bitrate Streaming Coming to the iPhone


Apple (s aapl), highlighting both HTML5 and its own development platform, has announced support for Netflix (s nflx) viewing on the iPhone. Much like with the iPad, Netflix subscribers will be able to manage their movie queue on the device, but more importantly, watch streaming video in the palm of their hand. The free application arrives this summer and will support adaptive video playback — a streaming technology that adapts to the connection speed of a device demonstrated last year.

The Netflix for iPhone application will also resume playback even if the content was viewed on a different device. You could watch half of a movie on your iPad, for example, and then pick up right where you left off on an iPhone. While that all sounds good, one has to wonder what kind of bandwidth Netflix viewing will use, even with the adaptive bitrate solution. Given that AT&T’s new capped data plans for smartphones kick off today, I suspect many current AT&T (s t) customers that plan to use Netflix will keep their currently unlimited plans.



In a different post, it was reported that NetFlix video would eat up 2.8Mb per minute of video. So, essentially, at full throttle, not even a full movie for the lowest advertised At&T data plan (shame AT&T).
My guess is that for new AT&T subscribers, this might end up being an in-between medium w.r.t Netflix………view part of the movie while waiting for the train, at the airport etc and then continue watching using wi-fi.

Timothy James

Even Netflix won’t let you watch the movies on 3G, iPad or iPhone. The Netflix app is for wifi viewing.

Kevin C. Tofel

Timothy, Netflix for iPad and iPhone is supported over 3G although the quality may be lower as compared to viewing over Wi-Fi. Why would Netflix need adaptive bit rate technology if it didn’t support the variability of a 3G connection? ;)


Just watch the movies using wifi then you don’t have to worry about usage.

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