Video providers now have the opportunity to optimize their own mobile streams, and customers will find it easier to opt out of the program.
By Troy Dreier
T-Mobile introduced its Binge On plan in November 2015, letting customers stream all the video they wanted from a limited set of 24 streaming services without it counting against their data caps. The catch was that streamed video was 480p. Customers could choose higher resolution streams, but then they would count against data caps.
At launch, YouTube was missing from the list, as YouTube execs didn’t want viewers defaulted to a low-resolution stream. But yesterday, the two companies announced an accord: T-Mobile has made changes to the Binge On offering that make it acceptable to YouTube. Now, video providers are given the opportunity to manage their mobile video streams themselves, rather than have T-Mobile handle the optimization. In a statement, T-Mobile says that YouTube will be one of the first providers to use this option.
A Google blog post offers more details on the compromise. YouTube didn’t believe the original implementation offered viewers enough notice or choice, so it’s now more clear what optimization means and it’s easier to turn off. YouTube also spells out that providers can now provide their own Binge On streams as long as they work within an average data rate limit. “This allows video services to offer users an improved video experience, even at lower data rates, by taking advantage of innovations such as video compression technology,” the blog post says.
T-Mobile announced that over 50 services are now included in Binge On. Besides YouTube, new additions include Google Play Movies, Red Bull TV, Discovery Go, Fox Business, and FilmOn.TV. T-Mobile says these services make up 70 percent of all the mobile video streaming its customers do. Perhaps the other 30 percent is Netflix.
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