YouTube and Amazon Lower Video Resolution Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic

YouTube‘s regular video resolution has been fixed to 720 pixels, but the streaming service has lowered it to 480 pixels in order to decrease network congestion amid the coronavirus crisis.

“We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default,” YouTube said in a statement to Reuters.

The Regular Resolution Got Lower

YouTube isn’t the only platform implementing such changes, with Amazon also stating that its Amazon Prime service will lower the content resolution as well.

“Prime Video is working with local authorities and Internet Service Providers were needed to help mitigate any network congestion,” an Amazon spokesperson said.

YouTube’s decision to decrease its video resolution to 480 pixels is due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Because businesses and schools are sending employees and students home to practice social distancing, there are more people staying at home than ever before. Therefore, Internet usage is increasing, leading to network congestion.

With greater internet overload, few new Internet users will be able to use it. Moreover, Internet congestion will end up being an unpleasant experience for those who use it on a regular basis.

A Band-Aid on a Technological Wound

Both YouTube and Amazon’s decision to lower the standard video resolution to 480 pixels is rather a band-aid on the wound, but not a solution. Why? Because lowering the regular video resolution will only offer an inferior experience for users who can now notice the difference.

Internet congestion may show up in interruptions, blurry content, sudden pauses in video playback, and so on. Lowering the resolution of the content may end up aggravating the issue rather than solving it.

Also, lowering the video resolution could conduct to net neutrality violations. Net neutrality is a rule that says Internet performance has to stay the same for all, irrelevant of their ability or to pay more or less. There have been some arguments to oppose this rule, enabling video services to charge more for superior performance of the network.

Therefore, this could lead to a violation of the rule, as companies could start charging more for a superior experience. The financial shortage behind this crisis could determine numerous companies to get money in any way they can.

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