Amid coronavirus lockdown, Netflix, Amazon suspend high-quality streaming on mobiles
In a bid to ensure robust internet services during the 21-day, nation-wide lockdown called by PM Modi, leading OTT service providers have decided to suspend high-quality streaming. The move, announced just recently, would see platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video shift their content to standard definition (SD) for users browsing on mobiles. Here's all you need to know about it.
Meeting between key stakeholders of the digital industry
Following PM's address, Uday Shankar, Chairman, Star & Disney India, organized a meeting with stakeholders in the digital industry to discuss the impact of people staying in their homes, and therefore spending more time on the internet, on the cellular infrastructure. They discussed different ways to ensure the smooth running of internet services and then unanimously agreed to lower streaming quality on cellular networks.
Streaming to be reduced to 480p
As part of the move, the leaders said, their companies will "immediately adopt measures, including temporarily defaulting HD and ultra-HD streaming to SD content or offering only SD content, at bitrates no higher than 480p on cellular networks." They added that the move is being executed immediately "in the larger national and consumer interest" and will remain in effect until April 14.
Which streaming platforms are likely to reduce quality?
The Shankar-led industry meeting was attended by senior leaders from companies like Sony, Facebook, Google, Viacom18, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, ZEE, TikTok, MX Player, and Hotstar. This means that the OTT and streaming platforms managed by all these organizations - be it Netflix, ZEE5, or SonyLIV, will be downscaling their respective content to standard definition throughout the lockdown period.
YouTube has already reduced default video to SD
While it remains unclear if someone from YouTube, one of the world's biggest video-sharing platforms, also attended the meeting, the platform has already downscaled its default streaming quality to lessen the strain on cellular connectivity. The company has said that throughout the next month, videos will play at 480p for users around the world, but there will be an option to choose higher quality.