YouTube Default Video Quality Being Reduced To Standard Definition

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The change will see the default setting for videos fall from high definition to standard definition, the company said, and will start rolling out "gradually" beginning Tuesday.

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.

"We will 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", Google said in a statement to the publication.

Netflix Content Delivery VP Ken Florance said in an official statement, "Given the crisis, we've developed a way to reduce Netflix's traffic on telecommunications networks by 25 per cent, while also maintaining the quality of our service".

Sony, Google, Facebook, Viacom18, MX Player, Hotstar, Zee, Tiktok and Netflix have also chose to transmit only standard definition (SD) content to reduce load on cellular networks till April 14.

Recently, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had written to the government, urging issuance of instructions to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others to initiate measures that will ease pressure on network infrastructure, which is needed for "critical" functions at this juncture.

In view of this problem, Netflix India has chosen to reduce traffic on telecommunication networks by 25% to help ease traffic congestion. 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. So consumers should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan - whether it's Ultra-HD, HD or SD.

The streaming giant assured that there will be minimal to no difference in video quality while streaming following this move citing the example of Europe. Therefore, customers will not be able to stream HD content (films or TV shows) on platforms like Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or TikTok. Higher bit rate indicates better quality.

Google has confirmed that it is indeed looking at changing the video streaming resolution on its platform all around the world, as internet networks are potentially under the risk of getting overloaded.

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