How does YouTube Red compare to Netflix

Throttling on Netflix, YouTube and Co .: What does that mean?

Streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video throttle the data rates
Photo: Amazon, screenshot: Michael Fuhr / After Netflix announced that it would reduce the transmission rate, YouTube and Amazon Prime have now followed suit. Other streaming services or media libraries could follow.

The reason for the throttling

Streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video throttle the data rates
Photo: Amazon, screenshot: Michael Fuhr / The corona epidemic is currently causing unprecedented data traffic, as many more people work from home and there is much more communication via the Internet, for example video conferences.

In addition, medical crisis communication between hospitals, health authorities and institutions such as the Robert Koch Institute must not collapse in the current situation because human lives may be at stake here. The worst-case scenario - also from an economic point of view - would be a collapse of Internet communication, even if experts consider this to be extremely unlikely.

What happens when throttling?

Especially with viewers on larger screens, throttling is usually noticeable through poorer, sometimes pixelated, quality. However, Netflix only wants to throttle the bit rate, but not the resolution. This means that the picture comes in full resolution, but with fewer frames per second. According to observations, the quality is still good enough that no one gets "eye cancer". However, there could be a small "stagnation" of the images, as in stop-motion videos.

With a higher image resolution, there is generally a sharper image because more pixels are displayed. But more data is also transferred for this. Netflix, for example, recommends an Internet speed of five megabits per second for HD (high definition), while it is three megabits per second for standard resolution. But there is a really big leap with the even better Ultra HD format: Here, for example, Netflix requires 25 megabits per second. There are also Ultra HD videos with high data rates on YouTube.

Direct hosting of streaming content by network operators has been around for a long time and has nothing to do with the current crisis. This is about relieving the network when transporting videos from Netflix and Co. to the network operator's server via the backbone, but also about the route from the network operator's server to the customer. This is done so that less data is generated everywhere.

How long does the throttling last?

There is no timeframe for the throttling. In principle, one can assume in Germany that the measures will be maintained until the pandemic is contained, in other words: people return to their jobs and the need for data is no longer so immensely high.

After talks on Thursday evening, Netflix announced that it would initially throttle data throughput in Europe for 30 days. However, it is more than questionable whether this is sufficient.

Do I get money back for poorer quality and are there alternatives?

So far, the streaming services have not yet commented on whether and when they want to compensate customers for the temporarily poorer streaming quality.

Film downloads offer an alternative: If you don't want to miss out on certain films and series, you can also download them from many streaming providers. The download may now take a little longer due to the throttling, but you can then continue to watch the film in the best quality.

Anyone who is currently streaming classic radio or television via the Internet should rather fall back on classic radio technologies if the desired stations are also available in this way.