Netflix Reduces Video Streaming Quality Across Europe to Prevent Strain on Internet Networks

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Image: Netflix

Netflix has decided to cut its streaming bit rates for European subscribers by 25 percent over the next 30 days. The decision was prompted by EU commissioner Thierry Breton, who warned Reed Hastings – Netflix’s CEO – of his service’s adverse effect on internet networks, which are under heavy strain due to the coronavirus.

“Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe,” the streaming giant said in a statement. “We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members.”

“I welcome the very prompt action that Netflix has taken to preserve the smooth functioning of the internet during the Covid-19 crisis while maintaining a good experience for users,” Breton said. “Mr. Hastings has demonstrated a strong sense of responsibility and solidarity. We’ll keep closely in touch to follow the evolution of the situation together.”

The implication is that Europeans who are subscribed under the standard (HD) or premium (UHD) plans will no longer be able to enjoy 4K and/or high-definition 1080p streaming video, but Netflix says otherwise. A spokesperson told CNN that only some viewers will “see a reduction in perceptible video quality.”

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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