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Netflix: Virgin Media best broadband to stream our programmes

Thursday, August 13th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Virgin Media is the best internet service provider for watching Netflix, according to the streaming service’s own research.

Netflix produces a monthly speed index for each country in which it is available, with Virgin finishing top of the UK index for July.

The average streaming speed of five providers – Virgin, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and EE – was measured across devices connecting to Netflix during peak viewing hours.

The average bitrate – the amount of data transferred in a given period of time – for Netflix content streamed by Virgin Media customers in July was 3.96Mbps. BT’s average speed was second fastest at 3.63Mbps.

TalkTalk was third, recording an average speed of 3.34Mbps. Sky measured 3.22Mbps and EE was slowest with 3.18Mbps.

Netflix said a faster performance generally means better picture quality, quicker start times and fewer interruptions.

The company's figures come a week after Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report, published last week, said 15% of all UK adults use streaing services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Around a third (34%) of connected TV users watch content via free catch-up services from public service broadcasters such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All4 and Demand 5.

More than half (56%) of UK TV homes had a TV connected to the internet, either via a set-top box or smart TV, by the end of 2014.

Continued growth

Earlier this year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings predicted that streaming and internet-based TV will replace traditional TV broadcasting within 20 years.

“Linear TV has been [on] an amazing 50 year run. Internet TV is starting to grow. Clearly, over the next 20 years, internet TV's going to replace linear TV,” he said.

Mr Hastings said Netflix's continued growth was a reward for focusing on improvements to content, streaming and user interface.

In June, Netflix denied rumours it was to start showing adverts on its streaming service.

The company confirmed that, although it won't be running paid adverts, it had been showing teaser-trailers for original Netflix series before programmes begin for a limited number of viewers.

Reports in the US had suggested the company was “experimenting with advertisements” running both at the start and at the end of programmes.

But a Netflix spokesperson said: “We are not planning to test or implement advertising on the Netflix service.

“For some time, we’ve teased Netflix originals with short trailers after a member finishes watching a show.

“Some members in a limited test now are seeing teases before a show begins.

“We test hundreds of potential improvements to the service every year. Many never extend beyond that.”

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