Saving data: Opera for Android adds video playback compression

The new feature reduces the amount of mobile broadband data while viewing large online video files, helpful for those on metered data plans or on slow networks.

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With mobile video viewing on the rise and accounting for a greater amount of bandwidth, Opera has addressed the situation by adding video compression technology to its Opera browser for Android.

The company announced the new feature on Tuesday and it's available in the latest version of Opera in the Google Play Store.

Opera has long focused on fast mobile internet access in its browsers by using back-end compression for websites. The company compresses web content on the server side and then serves up smaller web pages directly in its mobile browser. The new video compression takes the same approach.

That's good for those on a metered mobile broadband connection or for areas with limited mobile network infrastructure. But if you feel strongly about mobile browsing privacy, you're giving some of that up since Opera will directly see which sites and videos you're looking at.

All in all, though, I'd call this a win, particularly in emerging markets that don't have LTE networks deployed. Instead of tons of buffering during video playback on a slower network, the experience should be improved since less data is being sent to smartphones and tablets.

To use the new feature after updating to or installing the latest version of Opera for Android, open the app's Settings and enable the Video Compression option under Data Savings.