Netflix, YouTube and Amazon are reducing picture quality in Europe

Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime, three of the world’s largest online video services, are taking the unprecedented step of reducing picture quality in Europe to ease pressure on broadband networks. The internet groups are responding to calls by the European Commission and some European telecoms companies to prevent internet congestion, as more people work and take classes at home during the coronavirus pandemic. YouTube is the world’s most popular video site with more than 2 billion users tuning in every month, while Netflix had more than 160 million viewers worldwide at the end of last year, including tens of millions across Europe… The unprecedented demand for streaming services to curtail their bandwidth usage is a sign of how concerned the authorities are that broadband networks will quickly become overloaded, as millions of office workers and school children turn to live video streaming at home… Defaulting to standard definition, rather than the high definition that most viewers with good internet connections have become used to in recent years, could cut the data required to watch a video by more than half. However, YouTube viewers can still opt for HD quality. 

Javier Espinoza, Nic Fildes, Hannah Murphy and Tim Bradshaw