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YouTube to default to standard definition worldwide – report

MANILA, Philippines – Bloomberg on Tuesday, March 24, reported that YouTube will  reduce the default video quality worldwide starting immediately to alleviate the load on internet networks amid the coronavirus threat. 

Videos will be defaulting to standard definition (SD) as opposed to high definition (HD) in the meantime. But users will still be able to choose HD should they want to. 

Moves to reduce video quality started in Europe, with Netflix being the first to act on officials' requests to limit streaming quality. Other video platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon Prime Video followed suit. Online use has surged after the lockdown forced billions worldwide to stay at home.

Facebook itself has reported a surge in use. In the Philippines, one service provider, PLDT, said they observed a 15% to 20% rise in data traffic during the lockdown. 

Bloomberg also reported that YouTube use has become more steady throughout the day as opposed to evening spikes after work. 

It also said that while YouTube doesn't yet think the world is in danger of running out of bandwidth, it is readying early measures to avoid such a scenario. 

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. – Rappler.com