T-Mobile CEO John Legere responds to Binge On outrage from customers, EFF

When we first heard about Binge On back in November, there wasn’t much to hate about the idea of offering T-Mobile customers free, unmetered video streaming on services such as YouTube and Hulu. However, things aren’t looking so hot now after the EFF accused the Uncarrier of throttling data and violating Net neutrality rules. T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere took to YouTube and Twitter to respond to the EFF and other Binge On critics.

On the T-Mobile website, Legere posted earlier today to clarify some misunderstandings about the T-Mobile service. What Legere’s opponents, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, call “throttling,” he calls “optimization” in a war over semantics. Analogous to the Economy Mode on a car, Legere describes Binge On as a way to save data by being more efficient with your data usage, or getting zero-rated data when watching on certain websites, such as Netflix and Hulu.

“Mobile customers don’t want or need full, heavy, giant video data files,” noted Legere in the video, referring to anything higher than the 480p DVD quality a video typically streams in when a customer uses Binge On. Legere went on to claim that those calling Binge On “throttling,” such as the Electronics Frontier Foundation and Google, are companies just trying to make T-Mobile look bad in the ongoing discussion over Net neutrality.

Legere notes Binge On offers the quality you get from watching a DVD, except most of the content we watch online isn’t DVD quality, and that’s where the EFF has a problem. While many streaming services, such as Netflix and YouTube, can offer a lower, DVD quality 480p bitrate, T-Mobile won’t accommodate you if a particular streaming service lacks that option. All T-Mobile does is lower the speed of your connection when using Binge On to encourage a lower bitrate. T-Mobile notes that it does this to all video connections, even those that are not zero-rated websites. This means you’ll experience frame stuttering and buffering issues when playing back video in higher bitrates or from providers who can’t offer a 480p connection.

This is why the EFF reaffirms its belief that T-Mobile is throttling, not optimizing. All T-Mobile does with Binge On is control the speed of your connection. Everything else depends on you and the video provider. When the phones we all own include 720p, 1080p, and even 2K resolution displays, viewing 480p video on that same screen involves stretching the video across two or three times as many pixels, causing that blurry effect we know all too well.

T-Mobile’s response didn’t provide much information about how Binge On works, but they continue to claim it’s a good service that’s helping customers, and that it’s optional too. Customers can go into their account settings and disable Binge On if they’re unhappy with how it impacts their video quality. Legere also noted that T-Mobile customers are watching 12 percent more videos, and that a top streaming service saw 66 percent increased viewership after launching with Binge On.


Lack of regulation means wearables aren’t held accountable for health claims

As fitness trackers become more like health monitors, some physicians are concerned they can lead to over-diagnosis of non-existent problems. It’s already happening with wearable baby monitors.

For Netflix, ‘Fortnite’ on YouTube is a bigger threat than HBO

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix explained that it views the video game Fortnite as bigger competition than HBO, with YouTube videos of the game drawing viewers away from the streaming platform.

Netflix’s latest price increase heralds the end of streaming’s golden age

Netflix’s recent price rise is just the latest in a string of signs that streaming’s golden age is nearly over. As more services enter the fray, content will be further partitioned, signaling the end of streaming’s good old days.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.

Google is buying mysterious smartwatch tech from The Fossil Group for $40 million

Google is about to step up its smartwatch game. The company has agreed to buy an unnamed smartwatch technology from The Fossil Group for a hefty $40 million. Considering the acquisition, it's clear Google is serious about smartwatches.

Here’s how to take a screenshot on an iPad, step by step

The ability to capture screenshots may not be the iPad's most glamorous feature, but it's one of its most useful. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to take a screenshot on an iPad, whether it's an iPad Pro from 2018 or an older iPad model.

5G phones make a lot of promises. Here’s what to really expect

There has been a lot of marketing copy expounding the potential benefits of 5G networks, but a lot less on the practical implications of 5G smartphones. There's a reason for that.
Home Theater

Here are some common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Social Media

Here’s how to save someone’s Instagram Story to your phone

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.

Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS

Podcasts have become a cultural staple. Here's how to download podcasts and listen to them on your Android or iOS device, and which apps to use if you're looking to get the most out of the format.

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

Windows 10 Mobile support ending: Switch to iOS or Android, Microsoft says

A Microsoft support page detailed the company's plans to end support for Windows 10 Mobile in less than a year. Users with devices powered by the platform are suggested to switch to iOS or Android devices.

How to use iOS 12’s Passwords and Accounts tool to autofill passwords

Keeping track of all your passwords and accounts can be a real chore. If you use an iPhone with iOS 12, then you don't have to. Here's how to use iOS 12's own password manager to autofill passwords.

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!