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Netflix Throttling Mobile Video to Prevent Data Overages

Netflix is trying to save us from ourselves. The video streaming giant is launching a Data Saver feature that will let you stream more video while using less (or the same amount of) data, so you don't end up racking up overage charges.

Data Saver will be available in May for mobile apps, according to Netflix's blog post, but in the meantime, the company has already capped its default bitrate at 600 kilobits per second. You should be able to change the quality of your stream in the app's settings, if you don't like low-res video and/or have unlimited data.

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The company explained that many of its members "worry about exceeding their mobile data cap, and don't need the same resolution on their mobile phones as on a large screen TV." Netflix also said it believes that restrictive data caps are bad for consumers and the Internet in general, and that it wants to strike a balance between ensuring a good streaming experience and avoiding unplanned fines from mobile providers.

If you are a T-Mobile subscriber, though, Data Saver probably won't affect you. Your Netflix streaming is already free and doesn't count against your monthly limit, thanks to the carrier's Binge On service. With Binge On, you can watch YouTube, Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu and 40 or so other videos for free on the go.

Do you prefer having a lower quality stream on the go to avoid data fines, or would you rather stream at a high quality? Sound off in our forums!

Cherlynn Low

Cherlynn is Reviews Editor at Engadget and was previously a staff writer at Tom's Guide, covering wearables, cameras and smartphones. In her spare time she enjoys devouring old episodes of Torchwood or The X-Files. Or taking selfies.