Amazon Prime Video Cuts Video Quality in India to Ease Internet Load Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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Amazon Prime Video has reduced video quality in India to help ease stress on mobile and broadband networks in the country amid the increased need for Internet services, with more people at home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Just as with Netflix, this doesn’t affect the video resolution — you’ll still get access to HD and 4K, which is included with all Prime subscriptions, but at lower bitrates than before. Amazon didn’t say how this would impact its traffic usage, though it’s been quietly doing this since Monday in India.

“We support the need for careful management of telecom services to ensure they can handle the increased internet demand with so many people now at home full-time due to COVID-19,” a Prime Video spokesperson said in a prepared statement. “Amazon Prime Video is working with local authorities, mobile service providers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) where needed to help mitigate any network congestion, including in India where we’ve already begun the effort to reduce streaming bitrates whilst maintaining a quality streaming experience for our customers.”

This means that all the big video platforms — including YouTube, Facebook, and Netflix — have now lowered video quality in India within the past few days. Netflix announced its 30-day move early on Tuesday, claiming it would cut traffic by 25 percent. Facebook followed it later in the day, shedding video bitrate for its own platform and its subsidiary, Instagram. And then late on Tuesday, YouTube said it was switching to standard-definition (SD) video by default. It will “slowly roll out”, so you might not see it kick in just yet.

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