Streaming and internet companies to reduce quality of content to unclog networks

YouTube is Reducing Streaming Resolution Only on Mobile Networks in India

YouTube is Reducing Streaming Resolution Only on Mobile Networks in India

Due to more people working and studying from home, the internet's underlying infrastructure is expected to face "an enormous stress test", industry analysts have told CNN.

Given YouTube's measure, Gizmodo reached out to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, to ask about whether they planned to reduce the default streaming quality to standard definition in the U.S.

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.

Streaming video services have seen a significant uptick in usage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in requests for social distancing and, in some areas, mandatory orders that have kept people at home. At the time, Netflix accounted for a much larger slice of that pie than YouTube in the Americas-12.9 percent, compared to 6.3 percent-but a more recent report says the coronavirus outbreak has pushed YouTube past Netflix, sometimes by almost double the volume. I should note that at the time of writing, YouTube is still defaulting to an HD-quality 720p stream for me.

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In a statement, YouTube said the move is meant "to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation". Last week, YouTube switched to streaming all videos in SD in the European Union, as well as the United Kingdom and and Switzerland. "Given the global nature of this crisis, we will expand that change globally starting today".

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.

The operators have also approached the Department of Telecom (DoT) through written communication claiming that measures such as lockdowns and work from home are already "putting pressure on the network infrastructure of the telecom service providers".

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.

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