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n an effort to ensure that sufficient bandwidth is available amid the coronavirus outbreak, YouTube has announced that it is temporarily shifting video quality to standard definition on its platform.
“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,” a Google spokeswoman told Fox News via email. “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.”
The Google-owned video-sharing site is making the change in a gradual rollout that started Tuesday. The change is expected to last for approximately 30 days, although users can manually adjust the video quality on YouTube.
YouTube says that it has seen little change in the peaks of demand during the pandemic, but has seen changes in usage patterns as more people at home expand their use of the platform across additional hours and lower usage peaks.
More than 2 billion users visit YouTube every month, according to Google, which notes that people watch over a billion hours of video on the platform every day.
Other services have been throttled in parts of the world in response to the bandwidth demands caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Netflix, for example, recently throttled down its video quality in Europe at the request of authorities there who want to ensure that sufficient Internet capacity is available during the crisis.
On Tuesday, the Disney+ streaming service launched in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. “In light of concerns regarding the current ability of certain broadband infrastructure to handle the anticipated consumer demand for Disney+, the service will now feature a lower overall bandwidth utilisation by at least 25 percent,” Disney explained in a statement.
As of Wednesday morning, at least 425,000 coronavirus cases had been diagnosed worldwide, more than 55,000 of which were in the U.S. The disease has accounted for at least 18,000 deaths around the world, including more than 800 in the U.S.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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By James Rogers