Netflix logo

Netflix reducing video quality in Canada to lower Internet bandwidth use

Bell Media is also planning traffic measures affecting the Crave streaming service

Netflix is lowering video quality for its subscribers in Canada as it attempts to reduce soaring demands on Internet bandwidth in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The streaming giant says it introduced changes on Thursday that are designed to slash its data traffic by 25 per cent as Internet service providers deal with a surge in user activity.

The lower bandwidth streams of Netflix programs should still deliver the usual quality of each plan, the company said, whether it’s ultra-high definition 4K, high-definition or standard definition.

“We believe that this will provide significant relief to congested networks and will be deploying it in Canada for the next 30 days,” said Ken Florance, vice president of content delivery in a statement on Thursday.

The move comes as telecom companies see a rise in bandwidth usage while Canadians self-isolate at home and use video streaming services more frequently than usual.

Bell Media said it’s planning its own traffic measures for the Crave streaming service, which offers programming from HBO and Showtime. The telecommunication company’s quality reductions may downgrade higher-definition streams even more than Netflix.

“Crave does plan to temporarily reduce the quality of streams on certain devices,” the company said in a statement late Thursday.

The Crave 1080p and 4K streams will be reduced to 720p on Android mobile devices, Chromecast, and Apple products, including its Apple TV devices, it noted.

Netflix previously introduced bandwidth measures in other parts of the word over the past two weeks. Similar reductions in video quality were made in Europe, India, Australia, New Zealand and some Latin American countries.

In a blog post last week, Florance explained that Netflix has many different levels of streaming quality for each title within each resolution tier. With the changes, he said Netflix is simply removing the highest bandwidth streams, which lowers the bitrate per second on the streams.

“If you are particularly tuned into video quality you may notice a very slight decrease in quality within each resolution. But you will still get the video quality you paid for,” Florance wrote at the time.

“We are living through a global crisis, and we all have a responsibility to help where we can,” he added.

Other streaming companies have made changes in certain regions to limit bandwidth.

YouTube announced similar moves to ease the pressures on internet traffic earlier this week, while Disney Plus and Amazon’s Prime Video have enacted bandwidth measures in Europe.

A representative for Disney says the streaming service isn’t planning to do the same in Canada at this time, while a representatives for Amazon did not immediately provide comment.

David Friend, The Canadian Press



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusMovies and TV

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island artist brightens pandemic with whimsical signs

Anna Trelford decorates her fence with signs that riff on COVID-19 pandemic

Greater Victoria writer releases first novel inspired by U.S. school shootings

Dear Mr. President tells thought provoking story of victims left behind

VIDEO: Trudeau, Atwood say ‘happy birthday’ for Robert Bateman’s 90th

Famed Canadian artist and conservationist celebrated milestone this weekend

Vancouver Island man scores viral hit with stop-motion tribute to ‘Schitt’s Creek’

Todd Cameron used vintage Fisher Price toys to create one-minute music video

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach man stages concerts for charity out of his garage

Larry MacDougall says reception from neighbours has been heartening

Music education remains important, especially during pandemic

‘Music really does lift people up in times of trial,’ says Island music teacher

Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre set to reopen on June 18

Local artists will have work on display; COVID-19 protocols observed

Colwood art centre shuts its doors indefinitely

Board members look for new location when feasible, continue online

Nanaimo drag queen organizes benefit show for hospitals and performers

Suga Honey Iced Tea to feature nine drag artists from Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver

Chris Lowther becomes Tofino’s second Poet Laureate

“It’s very encouraging and it’s motivating and that’s the greatest gift any writer can receive.”

Langford bartender hosts singalong livestream for seniors

Live Senior Singalong takes place daily at 1 p.m. on Facebook

Victoria dealer sells Batmobile replica at Arizona auction

Tim Quocksister sells Batmobile replica for $165,000 US at auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Most Read