Friday, March 18, 2016

Monday Evening Sushi Buffet - T-Mobile's "Binge On" Reconsidered

As more people have dug into T-Mobile's Binge On service, it has become clear that it's not as great as it sounds. It starts to look like the Monday evening sushi buffet -- the fish market is closed on Sundays, and all that leftover fish from Saturday night must be sold! Which would you prefer, a $50 steak dinner, or a $10 all-you-can-eat sushi buffet? Depends on your budget and what you're willing to put up with.

My earlier analysis of where you might be likely to stream high definition video using T-Mobile's Binge On service did not take into account the fact that streaming HD video with Binge On may be impossible, because T-Mobile throttles the speed down to 1.5 Mbps. The Electronic Frontier Foundation did a test using Binge On and determined that their video optimization is "just throttling," and that T-Mobile applies the speed throttling "indiscriminately to all video."

Does that make the streaming video coverage map in my earlier post wrong? No, but the only way you will likely be able to receive HD quality streaming video is by disabling the Binge On feature.

Another way of looking at Binge On, suggested to me by a colleague: T-Mobile is simply "incentivizing lower quality video usage … lower load on the network [coupled] with kinda an acceptable level of quality."

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