Published: Tue, August 22, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Verizon goes all in on video throttling, killing off 1080p on smartphones

Verizon goes all in on video throttling, killing off 1080p on smartphones

If you're a Verizon subscriber and love to watch videos online, we have some bad news.

Unlike the previous plan that allowed Verizon to cap the data speed after crossing 22GB per month limit, the Go Unlimited plan lets Verizon cap the data speed any time without any speed limit mark. Tablets at least get a bump to 720p video, but with many smartphones and tablets having 1440p or even 4K displays, it seems rather disappointing to be limited to standard definition or only a small step above.

However, on Beyond Unlimited, your video streams will be limited to 720p if you're streaming on a phone and 1080p if you're streaming on a tablet.

"Moving forward, HD video on all legacy plans will also match Beyond Unlimited's HD quality", Verizon said. The higher video quality of 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets will be available on Verizon's "Beyond Unlimited" plan, which is $85 a month for a smartphone connection and another $20 for a tablet.

"These plans give you the best unlimited choices, but you also get what only Verizon can give you: the best network, the best rewards program, the best way to manage your plan with the My Verizon app and the best selection of phones and devices", the company proclaimed in an announcement. According to a report from Ars Technica, starting tomorrow, the carrier will throttle video streaming to as low as 480p, depending on the plan. Verizon says, "We're doing this to ensure all customers have a great experience on our network since there is no visible difference in quality on a smartphone or tablet when video is shown at higher resolutions (than 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets)". The Beyond Unlimited plan will offer 15GB of 4G LTE hotspot speeds per month and reduce tethering speeds to 600kbps after that. It means that for smartphone users on an unlimited plan, the video quality will be 420p. Go Unlimited is the name of the first plan, while Beyond Unlimited is the name of the second. Back in late July, Verizon Wireless customers became alarmed when they noticed that their YouTube and Netflix streams were being capped at 10Mbps.

Instead of acting as a dumb data pipe, Verizon is looking at what you're doing with your phone and sending you data at a slower speed if you're doing things that could cost Verizon a lot of money.

For postpaid customers, the 480p limit thus applies only to people on the new $75 unlimited plan. "More than 96% of customers have not used 4K video", a representative for the company told the site.

The third of the three new plans is the Business Unlimited plan. It's technically unlimited service, but it sure won't feel like that in practice. Whether this complies with net neutrality rules or not is extremely questionable, but Verizon thinks that it can justify this change in service.

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