Google dropped its opposition to T-Mobile's Binge On service due to some favorable policy changes at the magenta carrier. From now on, YouTube and Google Play Movies will happily work with the feature. Binge On rolled out late last year, allowing many customers to receive unlimited video streaming at 480p. That's not a great offer if you care about video quality, but it's nice if you want to save money.
When Binge On launched, the service downgraded streams from every applicable source, even if those sources complained. Google wasn't pleased and it publicly complained about T-Mobile's throttling. To deal with the anger Binge On generated, T-Mobile adjusted the service so that video providers and wireless customers have an easier time opting out.
As long as you have a qualifying plan with over 3 GB of data, Binge On will be fully enabled, allowing you to view as much content from YouTube and Google Play Movies as you like, as well as its huge slew of participating service partners that include Netflix and Hulu. It's an "opt-out" feature, meaning it's turned on by default and you must tell T-Mobile to turn it off if you want a higher-quality stream.
If your plan has less than 3 GB of data, you'll still receive lower-quality streams, but they'll count against your monthly data allowance.
T-Mobile claims the quality, which is close to that of a DVD, is fine for mobile users. However, if you've spent hundreds of dollars on a high-end smartphone, DVD-quality video may not be what you're looking for.
Along with making it easier for customers to turn off Binge On, T-Mobile has made an attempt to please video streaming services. T-Mobile's opt-out setup isn't going to placate every company, but it was enough to get Google on board.
Google said the changes "can help ensure that the program works well for all users and the entire video ecosystem."
To join T-Mobile's whitelist, companies must contact the carrier and say they want their videos to be streamed at their full resolution.
Along with Google's services, Binge On has recently added a few others, including Fox Business and Discovery GO.
While these changes are an improvement, throttling will continue to be an issue for Binge On. T-Mobile argues it isn't really throttling videos, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has shown video connections for Binge On customers are capped at 1.5 Mbps, preventing them from achieving their max quality. That throttling will remain unless a service opts out.
T-Mobile's expansion of Binge On does make the feature more useful, though two notable absences remain: Facebook and Snapchat.
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