Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video and Hotstar drops to SD quality amid Covid-19

Covid-19 has a wide and ripple effect on our daily lives. As people confine within the homes, the web becomes our single-window to everything from work, play, entertain, talk, and transact. This is a sudden peak in user traffic and ought to congest the networks. So to alleviate this situation, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has notified the top streaming platforms in the country to drop the video quality.

Impact of Covid on Video Streaming

What this means is that in the coming days, your favourite online video contents are likely to be available at SD or 480P quality only.

Further, it has advised the industrial players to curtail on the resource-heavy advertisements and instead push public service announcements regarding Coronavirus.

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The body has urged the Department of Tele-communications (DoT) to address the streaming giants in this regard.

The OTT platforms likely to come under the purview of this new advisory include – Amazon Prime Video, Youtube, Hotstar, Zee5, Alt Balaji, Voot, Sony Liv, Viuclip, Hoichoi, Netflix, and SunNXT.

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This is what COAI’s letter reads – “This sudden surge in digital use is already putting pressure on the network infrastructure of the telecom service providers (TSPs). The TSPs are taking requisite steps to manage this load and facilitate the smooth functioning of the networks during this critical time.”

It also added that it’s “absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with TSPs so as to manage the traffic distribution patterns. It is pertinent to note that the need of the hour is that companies offering streaming platform service and TSPs take joint responsibility to take steps to ensure smooth functioning of the data communication networks to align with other measures being taken in this battle to curb the propagation of the virus”.

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As COAI states, this should relieve the stress on infrastructure and enable remote working, online education, digital healthcare, payments, and other critical services in helping the citizens and country at large.

This is a noble cause and we believe countrymen and companies shouldn’t have any problem with it. Well, those of us who don’t mind streaming at 480P, should manually reduce the bitrate. Incidentally, similar steps have been implemented in Europe as well.

List of video-streaming services asked to Drop Video-Streaming Quality due to Covid-19

  • Hotstar
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Alt Balaji
  • Zee5
  • Voot
  • Sony Liv


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