The Indian subcontinent is undergoing a lockdown in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, several streaming platforms have decided to limit streaming quality to Standard Definition (SD) to reduce the strain on network carriers. Amazon Prime has announced its decision to pause streaming its content in High Definition (HD) and Ultra HD quality. All the videos will play in Standard Definition (SD) until April 14th, at least. Netflix and Hotstar have also released their statements on the issue. They have decided to drop their bitrates to 480p.
The lockdown has resulted in an exponential release in internet consumption as users have been asked to stay inside their homes. This decision by the digital media industry came after an e-meeting of leaders including Ajit Mohan from Facebook, Ambika Khurana from Netflix, Gaurav Gandhi from Amazon Prime, Karan Bedi from MX Player, Nikhil Gandhi from Tiktok, NP Singh from Sony Pictures Networks, Punit Goenka from Zee Entertainment, Sudhanshu Vats from Viacom 18 and Varun Narang from Hotstar.
The Cellular Operator’s Association of India had requested the telecom department and home ministry to intervene and ask digital streaming platforms to reduce the pressure. The Association represented network carriers like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. It had also asked the platforms to halt pop-ups and heavy advertisements. This move is only directed for mobile networks and consumers using broadband connections will not experience the same. So far, YouTube, ZEE5, MX Player and Voot have joined the above-mentioned streaming services. YouTube has changed its default video quality to SD around the globe as well.