• YouTube temporarily lowers global video quality to standard definition
  • Aims to minimise bandwidth stress and congestion as more users stream content
  • YouTube launches Learn@Home an online resource for families

YouTube Kids - child watching on tablet creditThais Ceneviva shutterstock

YouTube: Lowers video quality across the globe 

Source: Thais Ceneviva shutterstock

YouTube will temporarily reduce the strain on global internet networks by lowering video quality, responding to bandwidth concerns as people self-isolate and internet usage rises.

Across the globe, YouTube has reduced the video quality of its service to standard-definition (SD) in a move to help reduce the congestion of internet networks with the bandwidth usage rising during the coronavirus crisis.

Parent company Google announced the move in an update yesterday: “Given the global nature of this crisis, we are expanding that change [to default to SD video] globally starting today.

“This update is slowly rolling out, and users can manually adjust the video quality.”

Last week, YouTube and Netflix switched to streaming all videos in SD across the EU, as well as the UK and Switzerland. Now the internet giant has confirmed it is making SD the default video quality everywhere.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Google said: “We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimise stress on the system during this unprecedented situation.”

Last week in a message to content creators, Google said: “If you choose to use YouTube to share content urging people to #StayHome, consider videos that are helpful, fun and informational and tag #StayHome and ___ #WithMe (e.g. #StayHome and cook #WithMe).”

YouTube has also launched Learn@Home, a website with learning resources and content for families.

It said: “Beyond helping people find authoritative sources of news and information, we also want to be a helpful learning resource to families across the globe.”

From Khan Academy to Sesame Street to code.org, Learn@Home will spotlight content across maths, science, history and arts from popular learning channels.

“We’ll also have a dedicated section for families with kids under 13, where parents and kids can watch videos together that encourage kids’ creativity, curiosity, playfulness and offline activities, such as how to build a model volcano.”

The website launched 20 March in English and will continue to evolve, according to the company.

It added: “We’re working to expand to more languages in the coming days, such as Italian, French, Korean, Spanish, Japanese and more.”