YouTube Will Temporarily Limit Video Streaming Quality Worldwide Starting Today

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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YouTube will begin reducing the quality of its videos for users around the world starting today. With a growing percentage of people staying at home for the next few weeks and months, YouTube hopes this new streaming quality limit will keep the video sharing website running smoothly amid the increased traffic (via Bloomberg).


This change began in Europe last week, and will hit worldwide over the coming days. YouTube videos will default to standard definition, and if users want to watch in high definition, they will have to choose to do so from the settings menu on a video.
YouTube already limits the quality of video based on the strength of a user's internet connection. YouTube doesn't believe the world will run out of internet bandwidth any time soon, but is taking a preemptive measure given growing concerns at the government level.

"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," Google said in a statement.
Many streaming companies are taking similar precautions, with Netflix cutting streaming data bitrates last week, and Apple TV+ lowering streaming quality in Europe. Most of these changes began in Europe after the European Union asked these companies to temporarily reduce streaming quality to ease the strain on broadband networks, and now we're seeing similar policies spread to the United States and other countries.

Article Link: YouTube Will Temporarily Limit Video Streaming Quality Worldwide Starting Today
 

JosephAW

macrumors 68030
May 14, 2012
2,702
2,966
Is that the web site only or all apps, smart tv and Apple TV as well?

Apple will follow suit soon.
 

now i see it

macrumors 601
Jan 2, 2002
4,672
9,237
480P YouTube vids don't look bad on an iPhone. There's nothing on YouTube that justifies streaming anything higher (in my opinion).
AT&T customers on the lowest tier of "unlimited data" plans have been automatically throttled to 480P for years- so it's not a big deal.
 

recoil80

macrumors 68030
Jul 16, 2014
2,771
2,344
They were very quick to respond to the EU, don't you think?
Just yesterday, Zuckerberg warned about the risk of Whatsapp collapsing due to the increase of traffic.
I guess everyone is happy about the reduction of quality. Carriers have less congestions, content providers less traffic on their servers. The networks are not designed for millions of people staying at home and watching video all day long, let's face it.
Even if you are working from home and don't stream content chances are you are making video calls or accessing stuff via VPN, traffic that would be absent or inside your intranet if you were at office.During business hours quality should be reduced for streaming services, and almost everyone is doing it.
At night there shouldn't be a huge difference, there are probably more people watching stuff as they can't go out for dinner or for a drink but at least there is no traffic for VPNs so quality could go back to normal.
 
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Ericdjensen

macrumors regular
Nov 6, 2019
159
130
Springfield,VA
480P YouTube vids don't look bad on an iPhone. There's nothing on YouTube that justifies streaming anything higher (in my opinion).
AT&T customers on the lowest tier of "unlimited data" plans have been automatically throttled to 480P for years- so it's not a big deal.
Well, we are all stuck at home so why would you be watching on a phone and not a TV? 😛

480 is pretty bad on a TV. I'd be fine with 720, though
 

IPPlanMan

macrumors 6502
Dec 25, 2009
332
1,354
Me neither, my 1 gig plan has been running full steam!
I have Xfinity Gigabit and I've haven't noticed any slowdowns at all.

Never let a crisis go to waste as they say.
- - Post merged: - -

YouTube is already limited to 1080P on Apple TV because Apple doesn't support the VP9 codec.

Why not shoot for 480P while they're at it.
 

I7guy

macrumors Core
Nov 30, 2013
21,614
9,543
Gotta be in it to win it
They were very quick to respond to the EU, don't you think?
Just yesterday, Zuckerberg warned about the risk of Whatsapp collapsing due to the increase of traffic.
I guess everyone is happy about the reduction of quality. Carriers have less congestions, content providers less traffic on their servers. The networks are not designed for millions of people staying at home and watching video all day long, let's face it.
Even if you are working from home and don't stream content chances are you are making video calls or accessing stuff via VPN, traffic that would be absent or inside your intranet if you were at office.During business hours quality should be reduced for streaming services, and almost everyone is doing it.
At night there shouldn't be a huge difference, there are probably more people watching stuff as they can't go out for dinner or for a drink but at least there is no traffic for VPNs so quality could go back to normal.
Capping the home data plans would also help tremendously. Don’t you agree?
 

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 68000
Feb 24, 2009
1,738
1,163
480P YouTube vids don't look bad on an iPhone. There's nothing on YouTube that justifies streaming anything higher (in my opinion).
AT&T customers on the lowest tier of "unlimited data" plans have been automatically throttled to 480P for years- so it's not a big deal.
Plenty of live events and classic games being streamed on YouTube that people put on a TV. Also YouTube originals. There's plenty that justifies streaming at higher than 480p on a big screen. Don't be so obtuse.
 

CIA

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2003
550
203
This is literally just an excuse to drop their bandwidth costs. The internet is holding up fine but all these companies are suddenly paying a lot more due to the massive increase in volume. They already operate on tight margins so this is eating into their profits.

There is ZERO reason for them to drop resolutions down beyond trying to save themselves from a much larger then normal backhaul bill.
 

calzon65

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2008
814
2,656
This was inevitable and needed. There is significant increased "strain" on national switched voice (the PSTN) and data networks.

There is some good news. Since this is the first "real world" event of this kind of significant and sudden impact, it will provide valuable data for future analysis and planning. As we work through this pandemic, I think our voice and data networks will be better for it.
 

Hodar1

macrumors regular
I wonder how much of it is to relieve internal stress, from the increased traffic? Seems that saying that they are doing the "world a favor" by reducing bandwidth, is a Red Herring - I would bet that their systems cannot sustain the increased load, as they simply had no time to plan for this increase in demand.

And rather than crash, or fail in a spectacular fashion - throttling everyone internally, seems like the best short term solution.
 
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