YouTube will drop their default video quality to 480p for everyone

Lula Sharp
March 26, 2020

YouTube said it is temporarily defaulting all videos on YouTube to standard definition.

Given YouTube's measure, Gizmodo reached out to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, to ask about whether they planned to reduce the default streaming quality to standard definition in the U.S.

Consumption of digital content has gone up manifold as people are forced to stay indoors as nearly the entire country is under lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19.

We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation. "Given the global nature of this crisis, we will expand that change globally starting today", says a Google spokesperson in a statement shared with News18. Last week, YouTube switched to streaming all videos in SD in the European Union, as well as the United Kingdom and and Switzerland.

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Other companies such as Amazon Prime Video are also joining in on the movement in temporarily lowering bit rates (a measurable means to know how much data is being transferred) to also mitigate the pressure on the network.

The association claim that the sudden surge in digital use is already putting pressure on the network infrastructure of the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) and "TSPs are taking requisite steps to manage this load and facilitate the smooth functioning of the networks during this critical time". So consumers should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan: "whether it's Ultra-High, High or Standard Definition". The Prime Video has been working with the internet providers and local authorities for understanding where they need to help in the mitigation of the network congestion which include Europe where the efforts have begun for reducing the bitrates and still maintaining streaming experience.

The streaming giant assured that there will be minimal to no difference in video quality while streaming following this move citing the example of Europe. A 2019 Sandvine report claimed that video streaming accounts for more than 60 percent of total internet downstream volume worldwide.

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