YouTube switches video quality to Standard Definition (SD)

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YouTube has reduced the quality of videos on the platform to Standard Definition (SD) to
ease internet traffic during the coronavirus pandemic.
The move is as a result of a surge in internet usage due to millions of people working from
home and parents streaming videos for their kids who are also staying at home to contain
the spread of the virus. The policy is being implemented globally for 30 days.
The streaming of videos uses more internet bandwidth than other services like listening to
music, using maps or messaging. Though YouTube users will first see videos in SD as
default mode, they will have the choice to switch to high definition.
“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. Last week, we
announced that we were temporarily defaulting all videos on YouTube to standard definition in
the EU. Given the global nature of this crisis, we will expand that change globally starting
today. ” said Charles Murito, Country Director for Google Kenya.
YouTube does not expect the world to run out of bandwidth and is only taking pre-emptive
measures to minimise stress on the system. Murito added that “We’re also supporting
governments around the world in other ways. Via the YouTube homepage, we’re directing
users to the WHO or other locally relevant authoritative organizations and are donating ad
inventory to governments and NGOs to use for education and information. (blog post).

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