Netflix and YouTube lower streaming quality in Europe

Posted on Friday, March 20 2020 @ 11:54 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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With millions more working from home and countless people being asked to stay inside as much as possible, Internet traffic is spiking. Unfortunately, the Internet can't handle the massive increase in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak so various measures are being taken to reduce bandwidth needs.

In particular, the European Commission asked Netflix to switch to a lower streaming quality for the next 30 days to reduce the strain on ISPs. The measure is expected to cut Netflix bandwidth consumption by 25 percent. Netflix will temporarily reduce the bitrate of its video streaming:
Several factors influence how much data is used when streaming a movie online.

One of them is video resolution, including whether a video is high-definition (HD) or ultra-high definition 4K.

Another is bitrate, which influences how clear and smooth videos look when streamed online

Videos with a higher bitrate tend to look less "blocky" or pixelated, but use more data.

Out of these two, Netflix says it will cut its streaming bitrates.
A similar deal was closed with Google. The search giant's YouTube service is now using SD quality by default in Europe. Users can still select a higher image quality if needed.
YouTube is the second company after Netflix (NFLX.O) to act after EU industry chief Thierry Breton urged streaming platforms to cut the quality of their videos to prevent internet gridlock. Videos account for a substantial part of internet traffic data.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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