YouTube Reduces Streaming Quality Worldwide Due To Coronavirus

Google has announced that its videos will now default to SD across the entire world.


The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has resulted in massive demand for all forms of online entertainment, particularly streaming services. With millions of people worldwide isolated at home, the question has been raised about how well ISPs, telecommunications companies, and streaming platforms are equipped to deal with such an increase in daily internet use. Earlier this week, Netflix stated that it will be reducing the quality of its streaming in Europe. Now, it has been reported that YouTube will be serving videos in standard-definition worldwide.

As reported by Variety, YouTube's parent company Google will temporarily offer all videos in SD by default. This doesn't mean that full HD is unavailable, but users will have to override the setting manually. Previously, full HD was the standard setting. Google already made this change in Europe last week, but now it will roll out worldwide.

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In a statement, Google said, "Given the global nature of this crisis, we are expanding that change [to default to SD video] globally starting today. This update is slowly rolling out, and users can manually adjust the video quality."

In addition to Netflix and YouTube, Amazon, Disney+, and Apple have also lowered streaming quality to reduce bandwidth in EU countries, Switzerland, and the UK. However, YouTube is the only service to have done this worldwide.

Nevertheless, while the quality of streams has been reduced in many countries, numerous big movies have had their digital releases moved forward. Universal was the first major studio to give some of its current theatrical titles early home releases, with The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma all hitting video-on-demand last week. Yesterday, it was announced that the action sequel Bad Boys For Life will hit VOD on March 31, while DC's Birds of Prey and the Vin Diesel vehicle Bloodshot are now available on digital platforms.

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