YouTube defaulting video quality to 480p globally in response to increased traffic

Due to social distancing and isolation measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, people are spending more time at home streaming video from the internet. According to Bloomberg, Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings, Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki have been in discussions with European Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton regarding increased internet traffic. Following these discussions, YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon have put measures in place to cut back internet congestion in Europe.

Netflix lead the group, announcing last Thursday that it would begin to reduce streaming bit rates in Europe for a month, later extending this policy to India. Amazon released a statement the next day saying that, in regards to Europe, the company has “begun the effort to reduce streaming bit rates while maintaining a quality streaming experience for our customers.” YouTube also announced last Friday that it would temporarily default video playback in Europe to standard definition (480p). This week, YouTube has begun making standard definition the global default. Users can still watch videos in high definition, but they’ll have to manually select quality options above 480p. Google issued the following statement:

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.

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Nathan Wasson

Inquiring mind, tech journalist, car enthusiast, gamer.

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4 months ago

@chuckula and @Krogoth, I am out of the loop on something, what’s up with Intel IGPs and HD

4 months ago

[Intel whistles all innocent-like while laughing on the inside that Youtube is finally at a resolution our IGPs can handle]

4 months ago
Reply to  chuckula

Why is EVERYTHING about Intel with you? It’s not funny anymore.

4 months ago

Intel: We already cancelled HD on our iGPUs thanks to Raja

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