Netflix looks to grow in-flight streaming through better encoding

Netflix already partners with airlines including Virgin America to provide flyers with access to its service. (Virgin America)

Netflix is launching an initiative to boost streaming of its service on flights by advocating the use of its more efficient mobile encoding technology.

According to Variety, Netflix will offer up its mobile encoding to airlines beginning in 2018, which can save up to 75% of bandwidth while still providing high-quality streams.

Netflix already partners with airlines including Virgin America to provide flyers with access to its service, and the SVOD last year announced a download feature, which is likely a go-to for many air travelers who don’t want to rely on limited in-flight Wi-Fi for streaming Netflix content.


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And some airlines have been busy outfitting planes with improved download speed technology like Gogo’s 2Ku, which can offer up to 70 Mbps connections on planes.

RELATED: Netflix using new codecs for more efficient mobile downloads

In addition to pushing for bandwidth-saving technology being used for in-flight Netflix access, the SVOD also appears to be advocating that airlines reduce the costs associated with in-flight Wi-Fi access.

“Making Wi-Fi very affordable maximizes the benefit of your investment; the more passengers that experience a great internet experience, the larger the business impact,” said Netflix in a presentation slide posted by journalist Jason Rabinowitz.

Last year, Netflix detailed two new video codecs it began using in order to continue improving mobile stream quality while minimizing the network bandwidth demands.

H.264/AVC High profile and VP9 both offer bitrate improvements over AVC-Main, albeit with some tradeoffs. According to Netflix’s tests, High profile offers 19% bitrate savings as compared to the Main profile and AVC-High is supported by a whole lot of decoders across different devices. VP9, an open-source codec developed by Google, is mainly supported by Android devices and the Chrome browser. However, VP9 offers a higher 36% bitrate savings as compared with AVC-Main.

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