Many people around the world are now working from home in an effort to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Without managers looking over their shoulders constantly we suspect folks may be streaming a lot more content from the likes of YouTube and Netflix.
We say this because YouTube has told Bloomberg it will reduce the default resolution videos play at. To be absolutely clear here, this does not mean you won’t be able to play videos at a higher resolution but rather that when you open a video it will default to standard definition or 480p.
YouTube already does this to an extent though it tries to match a resolution to your available bandwidth.
This defaulting to SD resolution however is being done to ease internet traffic as many nations implement lockdowns.
YouTube told Bloomberg that it has noted an uptick in usage throughout the day as more folks make their homes their temporary offices.
YouTube has already limited its default playback resolution in Europe and it now seems this is spreading to the rest of the world. Netflix has reduced bitrates in Europe as well. The Verge reports that Netflix’s efforts reduced traffic to the site from Europe by 25 percent.
The change to YouTube’s default resolution doesn’t appear to have hit locally yet as we’re still having videos default to HD resolution.
Of course you can choose to stream at whatever resolution you choose but it will be an active decision on your part.
Netflix has said it will limit its bitrate in countries which request it to so if your Netflix quality dips in the next few weeks, that will likely be why.