Following similar plans for Europe, YouTube has made the decision to default to standard definition video resolution on its platform around the world. This practice will only be put in place for one month, assuming nothing changes in the coming weeks, and is intended to reduce the strain of internet traffic spurred by the coronavirus outbreak. Other video companies have rolled out similar measures in some places.
The quarantines taking place around the world have resulted in a huge number of people who are home and streaming videos all day long. European officials recently reached out to Netflix and a number of other video companies to talk about reducing bitrates or other similar measures to reduce the strain on Internet infrastructure during peak streaming times.
In an update on the matter, Bloomberg reports that YouTube will default to standard definition on videos globally until the end of April. Users will need to manually increase the video resolution to HD or 4K if they want a higher-quality stream. The change will start to roll out over ‘coming days.’
This is essentially the expansion of the change YouTube first rolled out in Europe. In addition to turning to YouTube for entertainment, some organizations and schools are using the platform to live stream certain content. According to Sandvine, YouTube traffic during quarantine is nearly double that of Netflix.
YouTube isn’t the only video platform taking steps to reduce its strain on internet infrastructure. In recent days, Amazon, Netflix, and Disney+ also revealed plans to reduce bitrates and similar steps to cut down on video streaming traffic, though many of these efforts have been limited to Europe at this time.