YouTube will begin showing videos in standard definition instead of high definition to all its global users to help ease the strain on networks during the coronavirus outbreak.
Bloomberg said that for a month, YouTube users around the world will automatically be served videos in SD. HD will still be available, but users will have to choose that option.
“We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation,” YouTube parent Google said in a statement to the publication.
As more people around the globe have been staying home to help stop the spread of coronavirus, video streaming traffic has surged. Video technology company Wurl has been tracking TV streaming time around the globe and recorded week-over-week increases of 12% in the U.S., 9% in Great Britain, 23% in France, 15% in Italy, 13% in Germany and 12% in Canada.
YouTube had previously pledged to scale back video quality in Europe along with other major streaming video providers, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The companies were asked to help with reducing internet traffic levels by European Commissioner Thierry Breton.
“Following the discussions between Commissioner Thierry Breton and Reed Hastings — and given the extraordinary challenges raised by the coronavirus — Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety. “We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members.”