Netflix has decided to join the numerous other apps out there that have gone the route of using Google Play for testing beta builds of their app. Today they are rolling out their first beta, although you need to sign up first to get the beta build. All you need to do is hit this link and tap on the big blue button that says “Become a Tester” and you’ll be all set. If you have Netflix already installed, you’ll see an update coming your way soon (usually in a few hours). If not, you should download the app and you may or may not see an update in the next few hours (depends on how Google Play is handling things today).
The beta channel is likely to be filled with bugs as is usual for beta anything. The beta channel for Netflix is a way for Netflix to test out new features before they roll it out to everyone. Something that can be pretty helpful to those that want to live on the bleeding edge of technology. The first beta update, which brings the app to version 5.1, brings a pretty helpful feature and that’s a data saver. Essentially it will save your data while you’re using the app. And we all know how much data Netflix can use up, especially if we are watching a few shows every day. It appears that Netflix lowers the bandwidth in the app when you are not on WiFi. Similar to what Binge On does, but not quite. As Binge On from T-Mobile actually lowers the resolution and the bandwidth. It’s unclear how much savings can be netted with this feature just yet. But if you do watch a lot of video on a mobile data connection, the savings could be pretty huge.
There’s another feature coming to the app soon, which is carrier billing through Google Play. Seeing as the only “in-app purchase” for Netflix is to sign up for a subscription to Netflix, this means you’ll be able to bill your monthly subscription fee to your monthly bill from your carrier. Maybe not a feature everyone will want, but it is nice to have it available for those that do want it.