As the country remains under lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, online video streaming platform Amazon Prime Video on Wednesday (March 25, 2020) announced that all videos on the platform will be restricted to stream only in Standard Definition (SD) to reduce the strain on the network. YouTube have chose to thus make the decision to change their default streaming quality for all users around the world for a month.
Bloomberg are reporting that YouTube are now moving their default streaming to a SD level. Last week they dropped to the 480p quality in the European Union and United Kingdom but today have announced that they are expanding that change in quality globally, from today. That's not to say you can't view things in high definition; you can, you'll just have to manually select it.
In a statement, YouTube said the move is meant "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". "We understand that there may be other such technical measures that may be taken to ease the pressure on infrastructure", COAI had said in the letter to the internet companies.
You would expect it is a matter of time before Google and YouTube consider making the change, to at least some locations including Australia with our beleaguered NBN, to some quality not being available any more - at least temporarily.
The site attributed the change to two factors: That people are watching more YouTube "because it is a great source of information from a wide variety of sources", which frankly I think is a bit iffy, and less obviously, because instead of usage being divided between home, work, Wi-Fi hotspots, and mobile networks as it usually is, usage is now happening primarily from homes. "Last week, we announced that we were temporarily defaulting all videos on YouTube to standard definition in the EU. We are committed to working with our partners to manage any bandwidth constraints during this period of heavy demand, while also ensuring people are able to remain connected using Facebook apps and services during the COVID-19 pandemic", a company spokesperson said.