• YouTube, Netflix, Showmax and DStv Now have implemented data traffic reduction measures to reduce the strain on the telecommunications network. 
  • YouTube has defaulted all videos to standard definition, Netflix has reduced its bitrate by 25% and Showmax and DStv now reduced streaming resolutions. 
  • Streaming platforms across Europe recently lowered streaming qualities due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

* This story has been updated. 

Streaming giants YouTube, Netflix, Showmax and DStv Now have implemented data traffic reduction measures in South Africa in a bid to reduce pressure on the telecommunications network during the lockdown. 

YouTube has defaulted all videos to standard definition from high definition, Netflix reduced its bitrate by 25%, and Multichoice-owned Shomax and DStv now have reduced its live-streaming resolution to 565p specifically on mobile devices. 

Other streaming platforms such as Amazon, Apple TV and Disney+ have also all recently lowered their default streaming quality across Europe in an effort to reduce strain on internet infrastructure during the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Netflix’s reduced bitrate will influence how clear and smooth videos look when streamed online. Videos with a higher bitrate tend to look less "blocky" or pixelated, but use more data.

Meanwhile, a reduced definition on YouTube and Multichoice’s platforms will mean that videos look less crisp. 

Netflix said the drop in bitrate should not have an effect on streaming quality, and members who will still be able to access high definition video streaming. 

“We believe that this will provide significant relief to congested networks,” Netflix vice president for content delivery Ken Florance said. 

Multichoice said it is working on other measures alongside internet service providers to manage the load on the South African telecommunications network.

* This story has been updated with information from Multichoice and YouTube. 

(compiled by James de Villiers) 

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