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Netflix, YouTube downgrade European customers to standard definition to deal with increased internet demand

News that the coronavirus pandemic has caused a 30% increase in demand on internet infrastructure obviously has some politicians worried, which is why the European Union requested that Netflix reduce its streaming quality during the crisis. Netflix has now responded by downgrading its European customers to standard definition for 30 days, with YouTube also following suit. 

In a statement Netflix noted that the measure it was taking would ‘reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members’. While many Netflix members will be disappointed by the move, some experts are worried that the internet might not be able to take the demand of everyone being at home during the coronavirus epidemic, even though ISPs have stated that they’re well prepared for this exact situation. 

Similar to Netflix, a spokesman for Google noted, “We will continue working with member state governments and network operators to minimize stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience.” While Netflix stated that it will be downgrading customers for 30 days, YouTube hasn’t confirmed how long it will be taking action for. There’s also no word as to whether or not Amazon will be reducing video stream quality on Prime Video, or whether Disney+ will launch in Europe without 4K and HD streams. 

While the downgrade is undoubtedly disappointing, Netflix did note that it’s unlikely many users will actually notice any difference. Netflix already passes its content through heavy compression algorithms and uses content delivery networks to ease its load on the network, it will simply just be using heavier compression during this period.

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