Streaming services and social media outlets are reducing video quality to handle the influx of viewers on the platforms due to quarantine.

Facebook, Netflix, Disney+, and Apple TV+ are among the group of streaming services and social media outlets making changes to video quality to be able to support more viewers. The large demand is coming from the net strain from the majority of people in quarantine and self-isolation in their homes across multiple countries. Personally, I know that I have watched more Netflix and Hulu in the last two weeks than I have in the last six months. So, I’m sure many people are using this time to binge the shows that they have been waiting for the right time to watch, or having movie nights with their family because everyone is home.

The interesting thing about these services and sites making these announcements is that it means almost nothing to the viewer. Lowering video quality could sound like a big deal, but most are lowering bitrate, which is the amount of data streamed per second. This means that the change in bitrates will make it so each video uses less data, but viewers are unlikely to see a major change in picture quality, but will be using 25% less data. Another thing that sites like Youtube are implementing is making users default quality 480p, but if they notice a difference in quality they have the power to change it. It is little changes like this that will allow everyone to keep using all the services they want at all times.

3 thoughts on “Streaming services and social media outlets are reducing video quality to handle the influx of viewers on the platforms due to quarantine.

  1. With so many people that are social distancing during this time, it is smart on the streaming services part to lower the quality of videos to deal with the higher number of internet users. This started in Europe and is now being used by all services around the globe. Although this is smart to reduce the quality to avoid a platform crash because of the larger amount of users, individuals who pay for these streaming services may become upset if they notice a difference in the quality of the videos. As long as these services don’t make the difference in quality noticeable. The mass influx of users is going to benefit from the lowering of quality, whether they believe it or not.

  2. I think this is a super smart move on the part of the streaming services, especially since consumers are unlikely to notice a difference in quality. I do wonder if this move could save them any money if they were to constantly keep their services at this level (like even after quarantine ends), or if this is not really a money saving tactic.

    In the case of Youtube, you can manually dial up the screen’s resolution if you so wish. I think this is really smart as most people will probably not take the time to do so, but any critics of the new resolution can simply adjust it. It is smart that these streaming services are adjusting and adapting in these times.


  3. I think this is a really smart move on the behalf of the streaming companies. As long as they can get the streaming to us less data without a noticeable difference to the consumer that is awesome. Its probably insane to think about the amount of money that these streaming services are raking in right now due to the corona virus like as you said millions of people are now stuck at home with nothing to do. Im betting the amount of people that signed up for more streaming services has gone up significantly since the start of the corona virus.

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