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Amazon and YouTube Join Netflix in Reducing Video Quality

Netflix joined by Amazon and YouTube

Earlier today, Netflix announced it was reducing video quality on its services in Europe for the next 30 days in an attempt to alleviate the strain on internet service providers. Amazon and YouTube have both now confirmed that they will join Netflix by reducing the quality of their streams.

YouTube and Amazon Prime Video subscribers could see the quality of their boxsets and movies plummet as firms attempt to help networks cope with the millions of people staying at home to avoid the spread of the coronavirus crisis.

The streaming platform has seen a significant increase in demand in recent days, after containment measures forced people to stay at home and self-isolate to prevent the spread of the virus. Netflix said the reduction in picture quality will only affect users in Europe, including the UK.

This change is thought to offer a significant saving, which would reduce data consumption by around 25 percent – allowing more people to stream at once during these unprecedented times. To put this into some perspective, an hour of standard definition video uses around 1GB of data, while HD can use up to 3GB an hour.

Now YouTube and Amazon have both agreed to follow Netflix with users about to receive lower quality streams sent to their devices.

Explaining more about the decision, a spokesperson for YouTube said:

“We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default.

“We are in ongoing conversations with the regulators (including Ofcom), governments and network operators all over Europe. We will continue our work to minimise stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience.”

A spokesperson for Amazon confirmed:

“Prime Video is working with local authorities and Internet Service Providers where needed to help mitigate any network congestion, including in Europe where we’ve already begun the effort to reduce streaming bitrates whilst maintaining a quality streaming experience for our customers.”

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