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Netflix Has Been Urged To Reduce Video Quality To Help Keep The Internet Afloat During The Pandemic

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Mar 19 '20 | By entertainoiam2admin | Views: 21 | Comments: 0
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In a matter of weeks, the novel coronavirus outbreak shuttered movie theaters, music festivals, and sporting events for months to come. As the disease pushes the globe into self-quarantine mode for an indefinite amount of time, many more people are working from home, and during non-working moments, folks are turning to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney+, and others, including the upcoming Quibi service. In other words, the internet’s in higher demand than ever, and bingewatching is not only entertainment but therapy during these unprecedented times. However, government officials are growing concerned about too much streaming weighing down the whole.

To that end, CNN reports that the European Union has called upon Netflix (and the other major streaming platforms) to shut down high-definition options to keep the internet from (literally) breaking. This makes a ton of sense, given that HD is often a waste of bandwidth on laptops and handheld devices, and no one even needs HD on a larger device at all. It’s a luxury, and when folks can’t even find toilet paper, no one can make a case for being able to behold every pore on killer Joe’s face while catching up on You or other guilty pleasure shows. From CNN:

European Commissioner Thierry Breton, who is responsible for the EU internal market covering more than 450 million people, tweeted Wednesday evening that he had spoken with Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings. Breton called on people and companies to “#SwitchtoStandard definition when HD is not necessary” in order to secure internet access for all.

In a statement on Thursday, Breton said that given the unprecedented situation, streaming platforms, telecom operators and users “all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the virus propagation.”

For its part, Netflix told CNN that they’re already on the ball with adjusting video streaming quality in accordance with network capacities, so that’s good news. In addition, the streaming giant also “uses a special delivery network that keeps its library closer to users,” which helps ease bandwidth woes. One can expect this conversation to continue, though, given that default options for some streaming services default to HD, and some don’t allow users to change quality settings at all. So, viewers don’t have an indication of how much bandwidth they’re consuming until problems occur.

The increased usage is definitely a phenomenon, given that Comcast and T-Mobile are among the companies that are lifting data caps until the pandemic resolves, but that’s in no way a guarantee that that severely increased internet usage won’t threaten access for all. So yep, it’s an optimal time to turn off HD streaming if you haven’t already!

(Via CNN)

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