23 March 2020
Netflix has been testing various new features and plans to attract subscribes from emerging markets, especially India. This is the reason it introduced a Mobile plan priced at only Rs. 199 per month last year. And now, it has started a new test under which Netflix has added HD streaming to Basic and Mobile plans in India.
The report mentions that revamped plans are currently available only to select users. Netflix is said to have begun the testing sometime early-February without making any official announcement. It is currently unknown whether testing is exclusive to the Indian market or it is being done in other mobile plan markets as well.
Outside the testing circle, Basic and Mobile plans on Netflix are limited to offering Standard Definition (SD) video streaming. It means the video quality is capped at 480 pixels for users. If a user wants to enjoy HD streaming i.e. 720 or 1080 pixels, they need to subscribe to the Standard plan or higher.
It is worth noting that while improved plans under testing offer 720p streaming, they do not support 1080p resolution. This limitation makes sense as otherwise, the Standard plan (Rs. 649 per month) would become pointless. The new plans are likely to be attractive for those who don't want to go for higher plans but skip other plans as well because of SD streaming restriction. It goes without saying that any subscribed user will need to have a device capable of streaming HD videos to take full benefits of new plans.
Here is what a Netflix representative told Gadgets360,
“We are always looking for ways in which to make the Netflix experience more immersive and enjoyable for our members. At the moment, this is a test, and might not be rolled out widely.” Netflix's decision to offer higher quality video is likely driven by the intense competition in the streaming space in India. Most other players, including Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video, don't restrict video quality across different plans. For Netflix, a test could also act as an upsell, with viewers getting used to HD quality more likely to fork out for more expensive plans if it's “not rolled out widely”