Europe is one of the continents that has been most affected by the recent coronavirus outbreak. For this reason, the great majority of European countries have ordered their citizens stay home to cut the propagation chain. However, What are all the people confined to their homes doing? Well, mainly all kinds of activities on the Internet and, above all, watching videos, movies and series on Netflix or YouTube.
This has resulted in network traffic increasing to levels never seen before, for which existing infrastructures are not ready. Hence, for example, Spanish operators are asking you to use the Internet sparingly. However, few people have heeded that call and already both Netflix and YouTube have decided to take a drastic action: reduce the quality of their services.
Netflix and YouTube will no longer look as good because of the Covid-19
To avoid the collapse of the Internet in Europe due to the high traffic the network is experiencing in recent weeks, the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, discussed the matter with Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix. Specifically, the commissioner asked Hastings reduce Netflix streaming quality from HD (consuming 3 GB per hour) to SD (consuming only 1 GB per hour). In this way, Breton seeks to reduce traffic, thinking that there are now many people who depend on the Internet to work, which is a priority.
However, in a statement to Variety, Netflix only confirmed that will reduce the bit rate of the service in Europe for the next 30 days. According to the company, this will allow traffic to be reduced by 25%, but they do not clarify how it will affect users in terms of streaming quality.
Furthermore, Breton also discussed the same topic with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. With the Google service, a more reasonable agreement was reached, since it was only established that YouTube videos in Europe will now load in low quality (SD, standard definition) by default. Normally, YouTube offers you the highest possible video quality depending on the speed of your Internet, but now it will offer you SD quality at best. However, you can increase it manually when you want.
Given that many people don't usually vary the quality of YouTube videos manuallyIf they see them directly with the quality it loads by default, the EU expects this action to reduce traffic. However, we must all do our part and not abuse the Internet, because the consequences (a total collapse of the network) can be worse.
UPDATE: Amazon Prime Video is another of the companies that lowers the quality to avoid collapse. And Disney + may postpone its launch.
Source | Reuters