YouTube Will Stream Videos in 480p By Default Globally Due to Coronavirus

Lawrence Kim
March 26, 2020

YouTube has announced that it is taking measures to cope with increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic by reducing its default video quality to standard definition for the next month. "We understand that there are various measures that the streaming platform companies can undertake in this present situation to continue to provide a suitable level of service to their customers at the most appropriate bitrate required, one such measure being temporarily moving to SD (Standard Definition) rather than HD (Hi Definition) streaming". A 2019 Sandvine report claimed that video streaming accounts for more than 60 percent of total internet downstream volume worldwide.

Now it is being reported that YouTube is extending this policy they have in Europe to the globe. "With so many people now at home full-time due to Covid-19, we have already begun the effort to reduce streaming bitrates for Amazon Prime Video", Amazon said.

YouTube's benevolence only goes so far though with users still able to choose high definition quality if they want - it will not be the default though.

YouTube says that for the most part, their logs show little change in the peaks, and have mostly seen changes in usage patterns from more people at home now expanding across additional hours and lower usage peaks.

Netflix And Amazon Prime
YouTube Default Video Quality Being Reduced To Standard Definition

As part of the move, the leaders said, their companies will "immediately adopt measures, including temporarily defaulting HD and ultra-HD streaming to SD content or offering only SD content, at bitrates no higher than 480p on cellular networks". In a statement to media, YouTube said, we are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the European Union to standard definition by default.

A spokesperson for Netflix said the company was introducing a 25 per cent reduction in network traffic in Australia, India, and countries in Latin America.

In India, YouTube is also adding a new promo card on the Homepage which links to the website of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) of the Government of India, so that users have the correct and up-to-date confirmed information about the Coronavirus spread in India.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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