YouTube video quality will default to standard definition due to Coronavirus pandemic

By Sean Carey,
As more people are told to stay at home due to the Coronavirus pandemic, bigger demand is being placed on the internet than ever before. So much so that regulators have asked streaming websites and others to limit their bandwidth usage. Now YouTube is taking measures to alleviate the strain put upon the internet.


Bloomberg reports that viewers will first be served YouTube videos in standard definition. Users can still watch high definition content but must pick the option to do so. Netflix recently took steps to limit its usage by reducing the bitrate of streamed content in a bid to save around 12% bandwidth usage — for some users, this has resulted in a lack of stream quality. Sony has also slowed download speeds in Europe from its PlayStation Network for the same reason.

Streaming websites have seen a considerable increase in traffic since the pandemic started. A 2019 report conducted by Sandvine says that over 60% of traffic on the internet is from users streaming video. It also points out that Netflix was responsible for around 12.6% of that traffic usage in the Americas. Now, a new report suggests that YouTube sees almost double the amount of traffic than Netflix due to it being a great source of information.

Most recently, Xbox Live has come under significant pressure from the number of users jumping into their favourite games. Several outages have been reported over the past week and achievements went down for a while too. Phil Spencer announced that with schools being closed across the world, Mojang would be providing free educational content in Minecraft due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Sean Carey
Written by Sean Carey
Hey everyone! I'm Sean. I have been writing gaming content for various outlets over the past few years while studying a degree in Journalism. I grew up on everything PlayStation — mainly Metal Gear Solid, with a brief foray into the world of Xbox. Nowadays, you'll find me mainly playing multiplayer PC games, but with the recent addition of the Xbox Game Pass for PC, I'm looking forward to improving my TA Score.