YouTube throttles video quality in Europe due to coronavirus

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Don’t worry if YouTube videos don’t seem as crisp and sharp all of a sudden — self-isolation hasn’t driven you insane.

The Google subsidiary revealed it’ll temporarily throttle streaming quality in Europe to reduce stress on the continent’s internet networks, Reuters reports. The reason, as you probably guessed, is the coronavirus pandemic.

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While YouTube said it hasn’t noticed any major upticks in traffic, it’s taking measures to make sure people watching videos from home won’t fold Europe‘s network infrastructure.

The decision comes shortly after EU industry chief Thierry Breton urged streaming services to downgrade streaming quality to prevent an internet overload. Indeed, Breton recently discussed the issue with Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, according to Reuters.

“We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default,” the company said in a statement. “I warmly welcome the initiative that Google has taken to preserve the smooth functioning of the internet during the COVID19 crisis,” Breton commented.

The move makes YouTube the second company to honor the European Union‘s appeal after Netflix announced it’ll also reduce streaming quality because of the network strain associated with coronavirus. It’s not clear to what extent YouTube will throttle video, but Netflix said its measure should alleviate stress on European networks by about 25%.

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