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Netflix Reduces Video Quality Because Of Coronavirus Lockdown So That It Doesn�t Break The Internet


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Ever since European countries announced lockdowns to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading, everyone's staying home and streaming content on Netflix, millions to be more accurate. Since too many people are streaming content on the platform, the streaming giant has announced that it will reduce the resolution and quality of video stream so that it doesnât put a burden on the internet. 

Netflix Reduces Video Quality To Avoid Strain On Internet Infra © Unsplash/Freestocks

Netflix took the decision after European Commissioner Thierry Breton spoke with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to reduce bitrates across Europe for a period of 30 days. "We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. 

Netflix Reduces Video Quality To Avoid Strain On Internet Infra © Unsplash/Kon Karampelas

Due to forced lockdowns, millions are working from home and children are also barred from attending schools. Naturally, with so many users streaming content at the same time would put a huge strain on the internet and the infrastructure. Netflix has not detailed by how much the bitrate is going to be reduced but it is safe to assume that a full HD movie/show would now stream at standard definition. Similarly, a 4K movie/show would stream at 1080p or 720p to make sure not a lot of data is being used for streaming content. 

Important phone conversation with @ReedHastings, CEO of @Netflix

To beat #COVID19, we #StayAtHome

Teleworking & streaming help a lot but infrastructures might be in strain.

To secure Internet access for all, letâs #SwitchToStandard definition when HD is not necessary.

â Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) March 18, 2020

Netflix already adjusts the bitrate of video on its platform depending on the bandwidth available. However, restricting the bandwidth from the backend would make sure all content would stream on the standard-definition resolution. 

Netflix Reduces Video Quality To Avoid Strain On Internet Infra © Unsplash/YTCount

As of now, Netflix is only taking these measures in Europe and it isnât clear whether it will be extended to other regions. With more countries going in lockdown, millions will be using the internet from home to work, stream movies and music. If the internet infrastructure is strained in other regions, we can expect Netflix and other OTT platforms to take similar measures.  

If you arenât too fussy about watching your content in lower resolution, we recommend you adjust your bitrate manually so that it doesnât put a strain on the internet infrastructure. On Netflix, you can change the bitrate from your account settings and then go to âPlayback Settings.â For other platforms like YouTube, you can adjust the quality of the video from the player itself. 


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