Netflix: We’re Not Throttling Streaming, Blame Your ISP

Neil Hunt, Netflix's chief product officer posted to the Netflix blog earlier today that the problems some users are facing with Netflix's streaming service is as a result of how ISPs handle traffic and is in no way an indication that Netflix is throttling their service. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who's in the industry as the idea of Netflix throttling their own service on purpose simply lacks common sense.

Not to mention, this whole issue isn’t even debatable since Netflix is not the delivery network pushing out the streams and has no control over any network. They don’t serve the streams, Limelight and Level 3 do. How can Netflix “throttle” something they aren’t delivering?

This whole debate started on the Break It Down Blog when the author was complaining that the quality on the Xbox 360 is much better than the watch now service on the PC. Of course it is, that’s because content for the Xbox 360 is encoded at higher bitrates, which Netflix already disclosed on their blog back in November and which Neil re-confirms in his blog post today.

The author on the Break It Down Blog may very well be having issues with streaming to his PC, but it’s not as a result of Netflix doing anything as many people pointed out in the comments section. Not to mention, Netflix is all about keeping customers happy. Why would they make anyone's viewing experience crappy on purpose? Neil's post today did say that Netflix is looking to improve the streaming experience in general by, "incorporating an initial version of multi-sourcing, and as we improve it, we’ll roll it out to everyone including our device partners such as Roku and Xbox. We hope by the end of year to have this problem largely solved."

Hopefully this ends the debate about whether some Netflix users think Netflix is throttling their streams and intentionally providing them with a poor video experience. Some users are going to have problems with streaming, but it's not isolated to Netflix. They would have the same or similar problems with other high-bitrate content as well.