YouTube is Reducing Streaming Resolution Only on Mobile Networks in India

Carla Harmon
March 26, 2020

"We understand that there are various measures that the streaming platform companies can undertake in this present situation to continue to provide a suitable level of service to their customers at the most appropriate bitrate required, one such measure being temporarily moving to SD (Standard Definition) rather than HD (Hi Definition) streaming". Given how selfish we have seen people here in Australia in this current crisis we don't hold out much hope for our network to see much change - unless people are unable to figure out how to change the quality of their stream.

Sony, Google, Facebook, Viacom18, MX Player, Hotstar, Zee, Tiktok, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have made a decision to transmit only standard definition (SD) content to reduce load on cellular networks till April 14.

Facebook, meanwhile, said it will temporarily reduce bit rates, or cut picture quality, for videos on Facebook and Instagram in India, the company's biggest market by number of users.

The reduction in video quality will preserve bandwidth and put less load on networks. While local services like MX Player have already started it on its app, Hotstar and ZEE5 are also working to implement similar measures.

This also comes after COAI urged the video streaming platforms lately, to lower the streaming resolutions. This measure has been taken to counter the unprecedented surge in mobile internet consumption as India prepares to spend three weeks at home in self-isolation to battle the coronavirus spread. At the time, Netflix accounted for a much larger slice of that pie than YouTube in the Americas-12.9 percent, compared to 6.3 percent-but a more recent report says the coronavirus outbreak has pushed YouTube past Netflix, sometimes by almost double the volume. Both mobile-only plan and the basic plan, the immediate advanced tier above it, limit streaming to standard definition (SD).

Following PM's address, Uday Shankar, Chairman, Star & Disney India, organized a meeting with stakeholders in the digital industry to discuss the impact of people staying in their homes, and therefore spending more time on the internet, on the cellular infrastructure.

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