If you've ever wondered why Netflix movies look better at your friend's house than in your own living room, Netflix has launched a new website that compares Internet speeds from various broadband providers.
To find out how well—or poorly—your ISP is doing, you can visit the Netflix ISP Speed Index website and select the U.S. from the pull-down menu. Topping the list, not surprisingly, is Google Fiber, with an average speed of 3.35 Mbps (megabits per second). If your ISP doesn't do so well, there may be some schadenfreude in knowing that those who have Clearwire as an ISP (1.25 Mbps) are in even worse shape.
Netflix, which has in the past has published lists of the fastest ISPs, says it is compiling the data from its 33 million users worldwide, and the index will be updated on a monthly basis.
The company also recently launched a higher-quality video streaming option called Super HD. When you visit the Super HD website, you'll be told if your ISP is ready for the higher-quality service, as well as 3D streaming. Only those ISPs that support Netflix's Open Connect content-delivery backbone will support Super HD and 3D streaming.
Look for our new Ratings of Internet service providers, coming in May. Our 2012 story, "Cut your telecom bill," includes Ratings for bundled telecom services and Internet, TV, and Phone Services.
—James K. Willcox