Netflix Lowers Video Quality in Canada as Bandwidth Surges Due to COVID-19

Last week, Netflix lowered its streaming bit rates across Europe, and as of Thursday, the same changes were applied to Canada. As people are staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, residential internet use has skyrocketed around the globe, causing strain and lowering speeds.

Netflix says it will lower its data traffic in Canada by up to 25 per cent, which should help the strain on Canadian networks.

The company says despite the lower bandwidth streams, the customers should still receive the quality of their subscribed plan, in either standard definition, high definition or ultra high definition 4K. In Europe, Netflix said the small numbers of those subscribed to its 4K plan are likely to notice the difference, but the majority of users on its standard package will not.

“We believe that this will provide significant relief to congested networks and will be deploying it in Canada for the next 30 days,” said Ken Florance, vice president of content delivery, in a statement to The Canadian Press.

Netflix already uses an adaptive bitrate to automatically adjust streaming quality based on network capacity and to limit bandwidth consumption.

Earlier this week, YouTube announced it would lower its video quality to default to 480p for 30 days, in efforts to help ease bandwidth constraints being experienced by internet networks.

Our grandparents went to war, while we are trying to survive COVID-19 by watching Netflix in only 1080p. I think we can do it if we muster up some inner strength.

Let us know if you’re able to notice the reduction of video quality in your 4K Netflix subscription.