Which is better YouTube or Netflix

After Netflix! YouTube, Amazon & Co. also reduce image quality

By Rita Deutschbein | March 23, 2020, 11:30 a.m.

The internet lines are currently heavily used. Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video & Co. have therefore decided to reduce the image quality when streaming video. TECHBOOK reveals what this means for customers and how long the measure will last.

People are more dependent on the Internet these days than ever. Many of them have moved their workplaces to the home office and use video chats to stay in touch with friends and family. The increased data traffic results in slower connections. High definition streaming of videos adds to the problem. Commissioner Thierry Breton spoke to Netflix about this point last week. Netflix has already reduced the bit rate of its streams so that the streaming service does not have to be switched off completely. YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and Disney + also minimize the image quality.

Measure at Netflix will take effect in the next 30 days

Netflix has been reducing the bit rates for all streams across Europe since last Friday. For 30 days - until after Easter - the measure should last overall and reduce data traffic across Europe by around 25 percent, according to the streaming provider. At the same time, however, it continues to promise users high-quality service.

Before that, another solution that was discussed was to lower the image quality to SD level. But now Netflix has decided on an alternative that allows it to continue to offer all three quality levels - from SD to 4K. However, Netflix is ​​relying on the lowest possible bit rate for the next 30 days.

For users, this means a slightly worse picture, especially in action-packed scenes, for example due to slight pixelation or a slightly jerky display. Quiet sequences in the film are less affected.

Streaming quality on Netflix

Netflix currently offers three subscription types. In the basic tariff, users generally only stream in SD quality and only on one device. With up to two devices at the same time and in HD, you can travel with the standard subscription. Those who have chosen the premium tariff can even watch films and series - if available - in 4K on up to four devices.

The higher the resolution, the better the picture, but also the higher the amount of data that is generated for the stream. Netflix recommends an Internet line with at least 25 Mbit / s for a video stream in 4K and at least 5 Mbit / s for HD quality. With SD, 3 Mbit / s is sufficient.

Read more: 5 tips to keep Netflix from crashing

YouTube, Amazon Video and Disney + also reduce image quality

The EU Commission has also urged other streaming providers such as Amazon Video or Sky to work more closely with Internet providers and, in an emergency, to think about minimizing data throughput. While Sky still sees no reason to adjust the streaming quality, YouTube, Amazon Video and Disney + have already responded.

YouTube: SD instead of HD

Like Netflix, YouTube announced last Friday that it would be reducing the quality of video streams across Europe and the UK for the next 30 days. Instead of reproducing content in HD or Full HD, users can temporarily only stream in SD quality. This means a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels on YouTube.

You can also read: Consequences of Corona - neighboring countries threaten to switch off video streaming

Amazon Video reduces bit rates

Amazon Video does it like YouTube and reduces the bit rates of its streams. This means that the streaming service can continue to offer content in all quality levels - including HD, Full HD and 4K. However, Amazon Video has not yet provided any information about the duration of the measures.

Disney + with lower image quality at the start

Disney + starts tomorrow, Tuesday - but with lower image quality than planned. Like the other major streaming providers, Disney + has also decided to reduce the image quality in favor of data reduction. Like Netflix and Amazon Video, the service relies on the reduction of bit rates, according to a statement.

"In anticipation of high consumer demand for Disney +, we're proactively taking steps to reduce our overall bandwidth usage by at least 25 percent in all markets where Disney + launches on March 24th," said Kevin Mayer, Disney + Retail Manager.

For customers, the current reactions from streaming providers mean that the services will continue. If they hadn't lowered the image quality and continued to cause high data consumption, there would have been a risk that the services would have to be switched off completely.

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