YouTube Reduces Video Streaming Quality Amid Coronavirus Lockdown
YouTube is the latest streaming giant to confirm it will reduce streaming quality on the platform for users across the globe, including India. YouTube follows Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hotstar and making this technical change, as internet networks across the world are facing heavy strain owing to the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
YouTube caters to billions of users on its platform who stream videos across multiple formats up to 4K (UHD) resolution. The company says limiting streaming quality will ensure people can make sure the internet bandwidth doesn’t go overload.
Facebook also confirmed its decision to reduce the bitrate for video streaming on its platform as well as Instagram for users in India, and YouTube is the next major player to adhere to the government order.
YouTube had first made the quality change in European countries last week, and it says that the process is now being implemented globally from Tuesday onwards which is likely to be in place for the next 30 days or more.
“We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation. Last week, we announced that we were temporarily defaulting all videos on YouTube to standard definition in the EU. Given the global nature of this crisis, we will expand that change globally starting today.”Google spokesperson to The Quint
And since India is going on complete lockdown till 14 April, it is possible that YouTube streaming quality for mobile users (who consume YouTube content heavily) will be limited to SD or 480 pixels during that period.
In India, these changes were suggested by the Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI) on 22 March, who had reached out to the Department of Telecom (DoT) via a letter mentioning streaming players like Hotstar, Netflix and Alt Balaji should lower their video quality so that internet service providers (ISPs) can continue to offer high-speed internet to their users in the country.
Netflix & Facebook Follow Suit
Netflix said it will manage bandwidth consumption by reducing the bitrate quality of videos without making a big difference to its users. And even though Facebook wasn’t part of that list, the social networking giant seems to have followed a single order for all its market.
“To help alleviate any potential network congestion, we will temporarily reduce bitrates for videos on Facebook and Instagram in India,” a Facebook spokesperson confirmed this earlier today.