Online HD viewing might get scarcer during coronavirus crisis

Online HD viewing might get scarcer during coronavirus crisis


Netflix would be a huge boon to the Apple TV streaming service, says an analyst.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings thinks a temporary feature could be used to scale back HD viewing.
Photo: Global X/Flickr CC

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently called a European Union official to discuss ways to stop the internet getting congested as more people rely on their home internet connection while WFH (working from home) during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of them? Automatically switching users to standard definition instead of HD during peak traffic hours.

EU Internal Market and Services Commissioner Thierry Breton shared news of the conversation on Twitter Wednesday. He also used the hashtag #SwitchToStandard to describe how users should view things in non-HD where possible.

A Commission official told Politico of the proposed plan to create a temporary feature switching users to standard definition during high traffic times. Breton and Hastings are reportedly due to speak again in the next few days.

“Streaming platforms, telecom operators and users, we all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the virus propagation,” Breton told Politico.

Keeping the internet running

The importance of keeping the internet functioning as well as possible during the current coronavirus pandemic cannot be understated. While many people will be relying on it for entertainment, a sizeable percentage of the population is using on it to get work or e-learning done from home. There are also those who will require it for emergency scenarios.

The increased usage of remote access technology, video conferencing apps and the like are already taking their toll. Specifically, it’s pushing the start of “busy hours” back from evening to lunchtime.

Internet service providers AT&T, Comcast, Cox, Verizon and others have already pledged to not cut off service from customers who can’t pay their bills because of the COVID-19 outbreak.