Verizon fine-tunes video optimization based on networks, devices and plans

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) has slightly altered its mobile video optimization policy to take into account each subscriber's device characteristics, which network technology they are using and even which data plan they are signed up for, a Verizon executive confirmed.

The news is a sign of the growing sophistication of network optimization and policy management tools and carriers' willingness to deliver lower-quality video in exchange for keeping customers beneath their mobile data caps. "We've matrixed and said, 'Based on a device with a screen size of X and processor of Y and a 3G network, here's the optimum bit rate to stream it at and how to encode it'," Mitch Dornich, Verizon's director of product management and head of Verizon Video, told Light Reading. "It's not prioritizing traffic or differentiating traffic. It's right-sizing to the size of the device."

Dornich said Verizon changed is graphics and discovery mechanisms to improve users' experience. Additionally, the company now takes into account whether a customer is using EV-DO or LTE, the limits and quality of the device's processor and screen size and what data plan the user is on. This can sometimes result in Verizon delivering lower-quality video, Dornich said.

"What you find is there may be other video services that deliver at a higher bit rate because there's no cost to do so, but over time, consumers will be more sensitive to that, so they'll look for the best quality on my handset that's discernible and most efficient for the data plan," he said.

The video optimization is part of Verizon's "network optimization" policy, which Verizon first announced in February and put into broader effect in September. In a bit of a related move, Verizon said earlier this month that it will publish an API next year that will essentially allow customers to boost their bandwidth performance for a small fee.

For more:
- see this Light Reading article

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