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

Jen Hodge conducts an online concert during the pandemic after returning to B.C. from New York City. Photo courtesy Claudia Nobauer
Canada Recovery Benefit won’t replace the magic of live performance, musicians say

Cash will help, but its the audience connection that most performers miss — and crave

Mary Fox’s new book My Life as a Potter is available at bookstores nationwide. (Cole Schisler photo)
My Life as a Potter raises funds for Mary Fox Legacy Project

Acclaimed Vancouver Island potter’s story raising money for developing artists

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

Can you spot all 12 Days of Christmas displays at the Butchart Gardens? Jen Blyth photo.
The magic of Christmas returns to the Butchart Gardens

Some events cancelled due to COVID-10 but 12 Days of Christmas will brighten the season

Gatineau artist Michèle Provost visits the Malaspina Galleries during her artist residency on Gabriola Island. (Photo supplied)
Gatineau artist the first to take part in new Gabriola Island artist residency

Michèle Provost to create art book reflecting on the positives of aging

Legendary Vancouver-based blues and jazz guitarist and vocalist Jim Byrnes will perform live at the Tidemark Theatre in a concert that will also be streamed. Contributed photo
Legendary blues musician and actor Jim Byrnes hits the Island

Playing Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre for a hybrid live/online show

Dinner shows in the Playbill Dining Room are keeping the Chemainus Theatre going during the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

Small groups enjoy entertainment and the food in the Playbill Dining Room

Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Stone Takaya sculpture could soon ‘howl’ at Cattle Point

Oak Bay inviting public suggestions for 25,000-pound marble sculpture

The Sid Williams Theatre marquee is once again proudly displaying upcoming events. Photo supplied
Courtenay’s Sid Williams Theatre reopening in a limited capacity

Theatre has been closed since March due to COVID-19

Nanaimo-based ceramic artist Joe Lyons is presenting his first solo exhibition, ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction,’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts from Oct. 26 to Nov. 12. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-based ceramic artist showcases variety of bottles in first solo show

Joe Lyons presents ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Toronto poet Robert Priest is presenting an online reading on Oct. 24. (Photo courtesy Allen Booth)
Nanaimo spoken word society presents online reading by prolific Toronto poet

Robert Priest to dip into 40-year catalogue for upcoming Zoom reading

Most Read