Here's why Netflix is lowering video streaming quality

Friday, 20th March 2020, 2:21 pm
Updated Friday, 20th March 2020, 2:21 pm

Netflix has announced that it will be reducing the streaming quality its European users experience for the next month to combat the sudden increase in demand, sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

As internet use surges during the outbreak, this move has been taken to try and ease the burden placed on broadband networks.

Why is video quality being reduced?

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With people around the continent forced to stay home due to coronavirus, the internet has seen an uptake in traffic, as everyone works from home or seeks out entertainment.

Telecoms company, Vodafone, reported a 50 per cent rise in internet use in Europe earlier this week, while Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, said that his platform has also experienced a significant rise in traffic.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Netflix has seen a surge in the number of people using its service as well. As a result, some are concerned that this sudden increase will overload networks and lead to crashes.

In an attempt to reduce the strain on broadband networks, Netflix has decided to reduce the streaming quality their service provides, claiming that this will reduce data usage by 25 per cent.

Users have also been advised to switch from high-definition to standard-definition where possible. It is estimated that an hour of standard-definition video uses up about 1GB of data, while the same amount of high-definition video can run as high as 3GB.

However, the company has also said that picture quality will still be good – so those staying at home for the foreseeable future should still be able to rely on a high-quality viewing experience to help get them through it.

YouTube has taken a similar approach - for the next 30 days, video content on the platform will only be available in standard definition.

How long will the reduction last?

The quality reduction was announced on Thursday 19 March and is currently scheduled to last for 30 days.