Netflix Reducing Streaming Quality in Europe

Published on March 19, 2020

The Internet is getting more and more crowded these last few weeks. With people living and working from home and trying to get by in the time of coronavirus, streaming services are more popular than ever right now. In fact, so many people are tuning into Netflix at the moment they have to reduce their streaming quality in Europe.

Streaming Surge

There’s been a massive surge in streaming platforms these last few weeks. So the Internet doesn’t collapse under all the usage, Netflix is taking steps to reduce the quality of their picture. Instead of high definition, expect standard definition in Europe. In a statement, Netflix said: 

We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members. 

Only for Europe

Netflix will reduce the streaming quality in Europe for the next 30 days, but only in Europe. Netflix has suggested consumers switch to standard definition, but the company isn’t forcing households around the world to do it yet. So far, Netflix and streaming services haven’t caused any serious issues or outages, but in this day and age, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Especially because Netflix accounts for 12% of Internet traffic. 60% of online data for consumers is video. 

A Call From Europe

European Commissioner Thierry Breton, the main man responsible for the EU Internet market, communicated with Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, about making the change. The EU Internet market covers more than 450 million people. Breton has said streaming platforms and users “all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the virus propagation.” Breton added in a statement (Source: CNN): 

“I welcome the very prompt action that Netflix has taken to preserve the smooth functioning of the Internet during the Covid-19 crisis while maintaining a good experience for users.”

Breton and Netflix’s decision has received support from the European Telecommunications Network Operations’ Association. Their director general, Lise Luhr, expressed her support: 

“At this stage, new traffic patterns are being effectively handled by engineers as per standard network operations. We support the European Commission’s effort to ensure that national governments and national regulators have all the tools they need to keep networks strong across the continent.”

There’s no capacity issues yet, but they’re keeping a close eye on any potential issues. In the UK, apparently, there’s plenty of capacity to cover the extra Internet usage at the moment. As for the United States, there’s been a surge as well, but no problems. According to Verizon, there’s no issues to report. So far Verzon has seen over a 70% jump in gaming. Another major company, Facebook, says they’re seeing a major spike. CEO Mark Zuckberg revealed the rise in users has gone beyond the epic New Year’s eve spike. 

Netflix Recommendations 

Where to even begin? There’s no shortage of television shows to binge until the end of time on Netflix. Down for Cheers or Frasier marathon? Have at it. Netflix’s most popular show, of course, is NBC’s The Office. There’s no question that a comfort food show is keeping fans happy and warm at the moment. Thankfully, both The Office and the highly watchable Parks & Recreation are available. 

As for original Netflix content, The Haunting of Hill House, Russian Doll, and Mindhunter are their crown jewels to watch. They’re by far their most satisfying and cinematic shows. Why not watch The Irishman a couple of times as well? Those three and a half hours won’t feel so long now. Netflix has a few new movies out as well, like Spenser Confidential, but they’re hardly as watchable as their addictive television shows.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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