Amazon, YouTube, Apple and Disney have all confirmed that they will decrease the quality of their video streaming service sin order to help internet service providers cope with the strain on networks following the coronavirus pandemic. People have taken to watching far more video than usual as millions around the world are forced to work from home or self-isolate.
The Guardian reported on Amazon and YouTube’s decisions to slow down streams while Reuters reported Disney will cut the quality of streams in Europe when the service is due to launch in the region on 24 March.
Kevin Mayer, head of Disney’s Direct-to-consumer and International business said Disney+ would “lower our overall bandwidth utilization by at least 25% in all of the markets launching Disney+ on March 24th.” His wording suggests regions that currently have the service, such as the US, Australia and New Zealand, won’t be affected.
Disney’s full statement reportedly said it was abiding by a request from the European Union that was sent to many video streaming providers.
9to5Mac first noticed Apple will limit bandwidth for Apple TV+ across Europe.
The moves are unprecedented and show just how much networks take the strain when millions more people are streaming video over them.
The Verge said that while Amazon is currently only limited service quality in Europe, it is monitoring whether it will expand the measures to the United States and other regions.
There have not been widespread reports of outages for streaming services but the measures are in place to ensure other, lower bandwidth services are still available. Some customers have complained that they are not receiving the 4K or HD quality steams they are paying for, but Netflix has assured people that it is the bitrate, and not the actual quality of image, that is being restricted.
This comes after Netflix first announced a lowered bitrate for European customers for 30 days.