Last week, Netflix announced it would be reducing video streaming quality in Europe to help ease overall network congestion as effects from the coronavirus outbreak put additional strain on the European internet. In a blog post this weekend, the company went into further detail about its measures and opened the door to taking similar steps beyond Europe should the need arise.
In a March 21st blog post, Ken Florance, vice president of content delivery for Netflix, said the bandwidth reduction efforts began in Italy and Spain, two of the countries experiencing the most overall network strain. Following good results there, the reduction measures were deployed throughout Europe.
Florance said the moves maintain the full range of available video resolutions, including HD and 4K, but the highest quality levels at each resolution are removed. He added that no matter what resolution level users paid for, they’re still getting those — just at a lower quality.
“If you are particularly tuned into video quality you may notice a very slight decrease in quality within each resolution. But you will still get the video quality you paid for,” Florance said.
Later in the blog post, he mentions representatives in other regions, including Latin America, have asked about reducing bandwidth as a way to ease congestion in other parts of the world. The company, he added, will respond to the needs of other regions as needed.
“So we will provide relief to ISPs who are dealing with large government-mandated “shelter in place” orders by providing the 25 percent traffic reduction we’ve started in Europe,” he said. “For other networks, we’ll stick with our normal procedures — until and unless they experience issues of their own.”
Several other streaming companies, including YouTube, Amazon, and Disney+ have also announced they’re reducing streaming quality in Europe. And with the coronavirus situation continuing to evolve, we’ll keep an eye out for any additional moves streaming services make.
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