Netflix has been making a lot of changes in recent years. This has included new originals, new searching mechanisms and a larger subscriber base in countries all over the world. Now, however, the subscription streaming service says it is working to change one feature that subscribers really don't dig at all: buffering. That's right, in the future, Netflix might be able to instantly show you your favorite shows without the hassle of waiting for them to load adequately.
In a recent talk at Mobile World Congress (via Engagdet) Netflix CEO Reed Hastings discussed the buffering issues as a priority. The company is investing in encoders that will help with the bandwidth to picture ratio and should help with the streaming service's buffering, especially on mobile devices. Hastings says this should change the relationship subscribers have with the service:
We're invested heavily on many levels on the network servers and on the codex side so that the mobile experience is just instant That really changes your relationship with the service.
If you've ever been a Netflix user, you know the service can have difficulties with buffering, especially when watching on a mobile device. I can't tell you the number of times I've sat and had to wait to watch a program while the service buffered, which quite frankly, isn't a problem with a regular cable package. (The more annoying thing is probably when Netflix does finish buffering but the sound on the program is off from the picture, although that's not a conversation for the here and now.) The problem is compounded because Internet companies have caps on Internet bandwidth, which is an issue Netflix can only fix on its end while trying to work within the confines of the rules put out by its cable and internet competitors.
Because of this, Reed Hastings said that Netflix is working to figure out ways to provide picture that doesn't look terrible while also not using a ton of bandwidth.
We're getting more and more efficient at using operator's bandwidth and in exchange what they're trying to figure out for the whole industry is how can we offer unlimited video so that you can just enjoy it and not think about 'am I going to hit the data cap.
He didn't give us an exact timeline for when buffering may go out the window, but as a Netflix user myself, I'm certainly looking forward to the future of the streaming service. Avoiding buffering might, in fact, be one of the greatest fixes in Netflix history, but we aren't counting our chickens before they hatch. While we wait for the service's pretty picture to get better, there's a ton of stuff coming up in 2017. Check it out with our Netflix TV premiere calendar. In addition, here's everything headed to the service in March.