Netflix’s latest round of prime time speed tests have put BT ahead of Virgin Media for the first time.
The regular round up of ISPs shows that on average BT customers enjoy average download speeds of 2.48Mbps when streaming content, slightly above the average 2.45Mbps speeds experienced by Virgin Media customers.
Unlike the regular speed tests undertaken by Ofcom, which focusses on download speeds, Netflix’s results look at streaming speeds at peak times. This gives us an idea of how capable an ISP is at delivering content in a sustained manner over the duration of a movie or TV show.
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to NetflixA Virgin Media spokesperson noted that Netflix’s ISP performance metrics reflect the speeds Netflix is streaming its content on – so it’s a different measure from the actual peak time speeds Virgin delivers on its network.
BT declined to comment on the results, but a Netflix spokesperson explained that a number of factors such as the variety of devices streaming content and home WiFi networks, which can be affected by interference, had an overall effect on the results.
The spokesperson said: “The relative ranking should be an accurate indicator of relative bandwidth typically experienced across all users, homes, and applications.”
Netflix’s recommends download speeds of 5Mbps for 720p HD streams and speeds of at least 7Mbps in order for people to enjoy its optimised Super HD streams.
With this is mind we asked is the results means that customers wouldn’t be able to enjoy HD movies at peak times. Netflix’s spokesperson said: “Our highest-quality 1080p video streams come in at close to 6Mbps. Non-HD content, of which there is quite a bit on Netflix as well, tops out at 2.2Mbps. The typical user watches a mix of HD and SD content on a variety of devices, which explains the averages.”
BT and Virgin Media provided average peak time speeds of 2.48Mbps and 2.45Mbps, slightly above the average speeds achieved by O2 (2.37Mbps) and Sky (2.33Mbps). TalkTalk and EE both managed averages of 2.25Mbps.
While Ofcom’s regular reports provide a decent overall look at the services provided by the UK’s main ISPs, reports like this provide a better insight into how specific services like streaming video work and how much bandwidth is used.