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T-Mobile’s Binge On Will Let You Stream Unlimited Netflix, Hulu For Free – But There’s A Catch

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T-Mobile wants you to get your binge on, offering unlimited data services just like its Music Freedom, but for videos. John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, announced the development at the Uncarrier X event on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

The Uncarrier calls it Binge On, providing customers with free endless streaming on virtually all major services. The lineup includes Netflix, HBO NOW, HBO GO, Hulu, Sling TV, Sling Box, ESPN, Showtime, Starz, Movieplex, Encore, T-Mobile TV, Vevo, Vessel, Univision Deportes, Major League Baseball, Go90, DirecTV, Fox Sports, Fox Sports GO, NBC Sports, Crackle, VUDU and Ustream.

A big contender is missing from the list, though, and it's YouTube. What this means is that when customers play a video there, it'll cost them. According to T-Mobile, it's currently getting some technical kinks out with the Google-owned streaming website to add it on the list.

All seems well, right? Free unlimited streaming, an impressive selection and YouTube on the way — it's a binge watcher's dream. But here's the catch: the video quality will be limited to 480p or better, which Legere refers to as "DVD quality."

"Powered by new technology built in to T-Mobile's network, Binge On optimizes video for mobile screens, minimizing data consumption while still delivering DVD or better quality (e.g. 480p or better)," T-Mobile says in a press release.

T-Mobile insists that the videos will be optimized for mobile screens, but with smartphone makers designing models with larger screens and cramming in as many pixels as possible, videos with lower resolutions won't exactly be the nicest thing to look at on high-end units with huge displays. Plus, the Uncarrier doesn't seem to want to go into details about the "better" video quality.

VentureBeat got in touch with T-Mobile, where the Uncarrier's spokesperson reportedly said that it's a "win-win" situation.

"Binge On is a win-win as it will optimize video for mobile viewing at 480p, which is approximately 2.2X more efficient than HD coming over the network, with minimal difference in viewing experience. The difference between HD video and 480p is nearly indistinguishable on a mobile device," the T-Mobile spokesperson tells VentureBeat.

It's still a pretty nice deal, though, as T-Mobile's Binge On is optional, which means that subscribers can just turn it off when they want to watch HD videos instead of "DVD quality" ones. But take note that they won't be free.

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