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Netflix Claims Users Will Still Get HD and Ultra HD Streams Amid U.K., Europe Bandwidth Crunch — but With Lower Quality

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Netflix is squeezing again video bit charges to cut back the pressure on bandwidth-stressed networks worldwide, beginning in Europe and the U.Ok.

However the firm is telling prospects in affected areas that, technically talking, they’ll nonetheless have the ability to stream HD and even Extremely HD content material — simply that the video received’t look pretty much as good.

Netflix is focusing on a brief 25% discount in total bandwidth consumption to ease overloaded networks in the course of the coronavirus disaster, responding to a plea by the European Union. The corporate this week began the cutbacks in Italy and Spain, the place networks have been the toughest hit, and “we’re now deploying this throughout the remainder of Europe and the UK,” Ken Florance, Netflix’s VP of content material supply, wrote in a weblog put up Saturday night.

In response to Florance, “the motion we’ve taken maintains the total vary of video resolutions. So whether or not you paid for Extremely-Excessive Definition (UHD), Excessive Definition (HD), or Commonplace Definition (SD), that’s what it’s best to proceed to get (relying on the gadget you’re utilizing).” To cut bandwidth utilization, Netflix for the subsequent 30 days has “eliminated the highest-bandwidth streams,” i.e., these with the highest quality, he stated.

“In case you are notably tuned into video high quality you might discover a really slight lower in high quality inside every decision,” Florance wrote. “However you’ll nonetheless get the video high quality you paid for.”

To some, Netflix’s rationalization rings hole. Prospects in Europe and the U.Ok. have complained that image-degraded HD and Extremely HD content material will not be the identical factor. “While I perceive why you might have decreased high quality of your streaming, why are you continue to charging individuals full quantities for 4K UHD when you might have decreased the standard? Your small business ethics are fallacious,” Michael Knight, a VFX artist and film poster designer, stated in a tweet Sunday.

Netflix is arguing that it’s going to ship video within the decision for every format: For SD, that’s 800 x 600 pixels; HD is 1920 x 1080; and UHD is 3840 x 2160. The problem is that by limiting HD and UHD to less-than-optimal compression charges, video streams can have decrease image high quality, together with blurring, blockiness (pixelation) and colour degradation.

Netflix isn’t alone in clamping down on streaming video bit charges: Others becoming a member of the EU-led trigger embody YouTube, Amazon, Apple and Disney, which like Netflix stated it’s aiming for a 25% discount in Disney Plus bandwidth utilization for the launch within the U.Ok. and Europe beginning March 24.

In the meantime, Netflix is widening the bit-rate reductions to different areas. “On the ISP facet, some companions in areas similar to Latin America need us to cut back our bandwidth as quickly as attainable,” Florance wrote within the weblog put up, including that different broadband suppliers “wish to proceed with enterprise as normal.”

The corporate will present the identical 25% site visitors discount to web service suppliers coping with government-mandated “shelter in place” orders, per the exec. “Our aim is straightforward: to keep up the standard of service for our members, whereas supporting ISPs who’re dealing with unprecedented pressure on their networks,” Florance wrote.

(Pictured above: Netflix’s “The Crown” Season three starring Olivia Colman.)

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