Netflix notches down the video quality

We’re certainly living in very strange times at the moment. As most of Europe enters a prolonged lock-down period, internet usage has shot through the roof. Indeed, Vodafone got in touch with us to state that their network has seen a 50% rise in usage.

This strange and uncharted territory has led Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, to get onto the phone to the CEO of Netflix. Streaming TV is filling the internet pipes and, as everyone spends more time at home due to the coronavirus, we’re all causing other more important comms to suffer. So, while your family sit watching HD streaming films, you can be having problems connecting to the VPN at work.

The result of that phone call is that Netflix will, or the next 30 days, reduce video bitrate by a quarter. This, according to the Commissioner, will “preserve the smooth functioning of the internet during the Covid-19 crisis”.

The 25% bitrate reduction might mean that your picture will look a little less clear but, as we’re finding out on an almost hourly basis, compromise and a change in lifestyle is here for a while yet.