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YouTube Switches to Standard Definition Video Quality Worldwide

Stephanie Sengwe

Over the course of the last week, major streaming companies have been switching or lowering streaming quality in the EU so as to preserve internet bandwidth. However, YouTube has defaulted to the lower-quality standard-definition (SD) format worldwide, according to Bloomberg.

The video-sharing platform — as well as parent company, Google — is hoping the switch will reduce congestion online as bandwidth usage has spiked while people are forced to stay at home due to Covid-19. Although YouTube has made SD the default, users have the option to override the setting and switch back to HD in regions where the format is available.

“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 to Bloomberg.

Last week, YouTube was among one of the major streamers to lower streaming quality in the EU after internal market and services commissioner Thierry Breton expressed concerns of possible outages.

“[W]e are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default,” YouTube said in a statement. “While we have seen only a few usage peaks, we have measures in place to automatically adjust our system to use less network capacity.”

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video as well as Disney have also made the changes.

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