YouTube is Lowering the Default Video Definition Worldwide for at Least a Month

There's very little the coronavirus won't affect, and a number of streaming services had to reduce their bandwidth usages to weather the influx of new traffic. Now, YouTube has had to take early measures too by limiting video quality first in Europe, and now globally.

Bloomberg has today reported that YouTube's standard definition will be the default video quality for the next month. You are of course still able to watch videos in higher quality, such as 1080p, but for now, you'll have to do that manually. As one might expect, the use of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime has soared with many countries enforcing isolation of its citizens while the world deals with COVID-19. YouTube has felt the heat too and is now acting early to avoid any problems down the line as more people are confined to their homes.

While most videographers will show their clients work on platforms like Vimeo over YouTube, it's still worth noting that anybody showcasing work on Google's video platform ought to inform the viewers that they need to manually increase the quality. A small price to pay, but one that may affect our industry if only lightly. The length of this restriction is currently one month, but this could be increased: "“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,” said a spokesperson for Google.

Have you noticed the change yet? Has the amount of content you stream gone up since the pandemic?

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vik .'s picture

...and nobody will notice a difference. Good. btw vimeo still exists?

Paolo Bugnone's picture

Yep, and it will as long as it has nudes and Youtube doens't.

Jon Kellett's picture

Still defaulting to 480 windowed and 1080 full screen in NZ... I wonder for how much longer :-)

Paul Scharff's picture

I'm fine with this. As long as I can still change my settings, I'm fine with a lower default, since 90% of users won't even notice and it will save bandwidth.