While the experts have described “ Staying at Home” as the best preventive measure to fight Corona Virus, Internet Service Providers are concerned with the exponential increase of the data bandwidth consumption. With nothing better to do, millions of people, who are staying home have shifted their energies to YouTube and other streaming websites. This has resulted in an unexpected upsurge of traffic on these websites. Moreover, it also increased the burden on the ISPs across the globe that weren’t ready for the augmented traffic.
With this in mind, YouTube has decided to reduce videos’ quality across the globe, starting from Europe, where this change has already been implemented. The internet regulators have asked all the primary streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime, to reduce their bandwidth usage.
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YouTube has complied with all the policies set by the ISPs and has established a default setting (standard definition) over all the videos on YouTube. However, if the viewer wishes to switch to HD, then they can do so. According to the reviews gathered on this change, most users stated that when watching a video on your smartphone, 480p resolution seems more than enough. Playing videos in 720 or 1080 on a smaller device will not provide any better experience. You need larger screens to enjoy them.
The use of streaming services has also increased as new daily soaps and shows are not being created due to Corona Virus Pandemic. In such cases, people resort to watching old content available online. It was imperative on the part of YouTube to make this decision as it is a video streaming website which as compared to music streaming consumes more bandwidth.
YouTube has also stated that this change was not made because the world might exhaust its internet bandwidth but because it would instead reduce the stress on the system during this unprecedented situation. It believes in working closely with the Government and Network Operators.
Other experts believe otherwise. They claim that the reduction of video quality is an excuse to drop the bandwidth costs. With an increase in traffic, the bandwidth consumption of these streaming websites has increased, which means they have to pay more. It is also observed that the traffic increase is more with free users as compared to premium ones
Whatever the case may be, I think it is a wise decision on YouTube’s part to reduce the video quality and thus reduce the bandwidth consumption as much as possible. It is a time to save resources and use them wisely, and a little compromise on video quality is least that can be asked for.