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YouTube defaulting to SD video quality around the world

On Friday, Google’s video service announced that it would reduce video quality in Europe to allay network capacity fears. YouTube will now default to SD quality around the world over the coming days.

Citing the “global nature of this crisis,” YouTube will switch to standard definition video worldwide. This looks to mean 480p instead of the usual 720p or 1080p bar for high definition. Desktop, TV, and mobile watchers can still manually opt for the increased resolution like before, while the service already accounted for internet quality in the past.

You can manually adjust the video quality of any video you’re watching on a computer, TV, or mobile device. We will continue working with member state governments and network operators to minimize stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience.

According to YouTube, this default to SD quality is “slowly rolling out” now. It follows the European Union, United Kingdom, and Switzerland last week, given the uptick in people staying at home all day due to lockdowns or stay at home orders. The company told Bloomberg that it’s seeing content consumption “steady across the day” instead of evening spikes as people wind down for the day.

The EU had concerns that internet service providers (ISPs) would be overloaded from people using video services for both education and entertainment purposes, while video conferencing is also seeing a big uptick.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: