YouTube will begin reducing the quality of its videos for users around the world starting today. With a growing percentage of people staying at home for the next few weeks and months, YouTube hopes this new streaming quality limit will keep the video sharing website running smoothly amid the increased traffic (via Bloomberg).

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This change began in Europe last week, and will hit worldwide over the coming days. YouTube videos will default to standard definition, and if users want to watch in high definition, they will have to choose to do so from the settings menu on a video.

YouTube already limits the quality of video based on the strength of a user’s internet connection. YouTube doesn’t believe the world will run out of internet bandwidth any time soon, but is taking a preemptive measure given growing concerns at the government level.

“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,” Google said in a statement.

Many streaming companies are taking similar precautions, with Netflix cutting streaming data bitrates last week, and Apple TV+ lowering streaming quality in Europe. Most of these changes began in Europe after the European Union asked these companies to temporarily reduce streaming quality to ease the strain on broadband networks, and now we're seeing similar policies spread to the United States and other countries.

Tag: YouTube

Top Rated Comments

CIA Avatar
33 months ago
This is literally just an excuse to drop their bandwidth costs. The internet is holding up fine but all these companies are suddenly paying a lot more due to the massive increase in volume. They already operate on tight margins so this is eating into their profits.

There is ZERO reason for them to drop resolutions down beyond trying to save themselves from a much larger then normal backhaul bill.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mnsportsgeek Avatar
33 months ago

480P YouTube vids don't look bad on an iPhone. There's nothing on YouTube that justifies streaming anything higher (in my opinion).
AT&T customers on the lowest tier of "unlimited data" plans have been automatically throttled to 480P for years- so it's not a big deal.
Plenty of live events and classic games being streamed on YouTube that people put on a TV. Also YouTube originals. There's plenty that justifies streaming at higher than 480p on a big screen. Don't be so obtuse.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Vjosullivan Avatar
33 months ago

So, speaking as a selfish American, does that include us?
Which bit of the very first sentence "YouTube will begin reducing the quality of its videos for users around the world starting today." are you having a problem with?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
IPPlanMan Avatar
33 months ago

Love watching all the internet man-children cry about their streaming video quality while hospitals are filling up and people are dying off and our economy is tanking.

When I was a kid, I had to watch videos in 480p uphill both ways in the snow! And we liked it!

Can't imagine you people when the actual crap hits the fan.
Where is the actual proof that taking these measures on streaming video quality is necessary?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AZREOSpecialist Avatar
33 months ago
We have these multi-billion dollar companies building multi-billion dollar networks spending hundreds of millions on advertising touting how superior and pervasive their networks are... and now we don't have enough network capacity? Idiots, all of them.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
33 months ago
Love watching all the internet man-children cry about their streaming video quality while hospitals are filling up and people are dying off and our economy is tanking.

When I was a kid, I had to watch videos in 480p uphill both ways in the snow! And we liked it!

Can't imagine you people when the actual crap hits the fan.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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