Friday, June 23, 2017

@AmazonHelp, This Should Not Be a Hard Thing to Do

My cable Internet provider, Cox, has a bandwidth cap. A fairly generous one -- 1,024 Gb per month before I have to purchase additional bandwidth -- but a cap nonetheless. I've never come anywhere close to busting that cap, but I see that this month I'm on track to come in not very far under it.

The reason: Amazon Prime video.

For whatever reason, this month most of my household's video streaming has been over Amazon rather than e.g. Netflix, and a lot of it has been over an Amazon Fire TV stick and/or one of the kids' game consoles.

Netflix and Sling both allow me to set video quality according to my own desire, e.g. high definition, standard definition or even low quality.

Amazon lets me do that if I'm watching video from my computer desktop, but for those other devices it insists on streaming video at the highest quality my television will handle. And that means that an hour of viewing will consume 3Gb of bandwidth instead of the 800Mb of bandwidth it would consume at standard quality.

This is a simple fix, guys. Just update your other device apps to let the user choose the video quality, or even let the user set it in his or her account settings.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why that wasn't one of the first features Amazon put into its streaming service. Why would they want to spend extra money on bandwidth from their end when many of their customers would probably be at least as happy (in my case happier) to stream in SD as in HD most of the time?

I wonder if it's costing them any customers. It hasn't cost them me and my $10.xx monthly Prime fee.


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