The next time you load a YouTube video, it probably won’t look as great as you are used to. For a while at least. Starting today, videos will start playing in standard definition by default for the next month, though you can still bump up the resolution manually from the settings.
This is the kind of measure that YouTube and many other streaming platforms have adopted temporarily in Europe to lower their bandwidth usage during the coronavirus outbreak. EU regulators asked them to make the change to ease internet congestion in the region for the moment.
“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 owner Google told Bloomberg.
More people are staying at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, so streaming video usage has risen dramatically in many areas of the world. YouTube viewership has typically peaked in the evenings, but now usage is more consistent throughout the day as people are staying home and viewing content. We all have to make sacrifices as they tell us, and this would be an easy one. The quality will return at some point.