YouTube has announced that it will set its default stream quality to 480p standard definition on a global basis for the next 30 days in an effort to minimize the impact of its video streams on the world’s broadband networks as they cope with the traffic demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“Last week, we temporarily defaulted all videos on YouTube to standard definition in the European Union, United Kingdom and Switzerland. Given the global nature of this crisis, we are expanding that change globally starting today. This update is slowly rolling out, and users can manually adjust the video quality,” YouTube said in a statement.
YouTube will still give viewers the option to select high definition, but SD will be the default choice.
Last week, responding to a plea of a leading EU regulator, Netflix announced that it would adjust the bitrate of its streams in Europe to standard def, cutting traffic impact by 25%, it said.
That move was soon followed by similar European curtailments not only from YouTube, but by Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, Amazon Prime Video and Facebook, as well.
According to AT&T, Friday (March 20) yielded all-time usage of its U.S. network, with subscribers working and schooling from home, and streaming more video.
In fact, AT&T said Friday and Saturday were all-time high usage days for Netflix on its platform.