Netflix India video streaming quality lowered: How it will affect you | HT Tech

Netflix India video streaming quality lowered: How it will affect you

In case you are wondering that it will simply drop the video streaming quality from HD or Ultra HD to SD (Standard Definition), you might be wrong here. How is Netflix changing the quality by actually making any difference to the eyes of end users? It’s all about the bitrate.

By: HT CORRESPONDENT
| Updated on: Mar 24 2020, 21:48 IST
In case you are wondering that it will simply drop the video streaming quality from HD or Ultra HD to SD (Standard Definition), you might be wrong here. How is Netflix changing the quality by actually making any difference to the eyes of end users? It’s all about the bitrate.
In case you are wondering that it will simply drop the video streaming quality from HD or Ultra HD to SD (Standard Definition), you might be wrong here. How is Netflix changing the quality by actually making any difference to the eyes of end users? It’s all about the bitrate. (Pixabay)

Netflix has just announced that it will be lowering the video quality for millions of Indians to reduce the stress on the servers since most of them are operating from home and are more frequently streaming videos in a bid to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The confirmation came from Netflix's vice president of content delivery, Ken Florance. "Given the crisis, we've developed a way to reduce Netflix's traffic on telecommunications networks by 25% while also maintaining the quality of our service. So, consumers should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan - whether it's Ultra-High, High or Standard Definition. We believe that this will provide significant relief to congested networks and will be deploying it in India for the next 30 days."

But in case you are wondering that it will simply drop the video streaming quality from HD or Ultra HD to SD (Standard Definition), you are wrong. How is Netflix changing the video quality and not making any visible difference for viewers? It's all about the bitrate.

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What exactly is bitrate?

In simple terms, a bitrate is the number of bits per second in a video. The greater number of bitrate in a video, the larger the video size. This also means better quality. However, using extremely high number of bitrate in a video can simply mean wastage of bandwidth. So if Netflix pushes down the bitrate slightly, you are not likely to see any change in the quality but the video itself becomes lighter and easier to stream. Don't worry, your videos won't go pixelated. However, this can be done only up to a limit. Lowering the bitrate beyond a certain point starts showing an output that might not be preferable.

So does that mean your Ultra HD or HD plan will go down to SD?

No. Netflix clearly states that you can continue watching the videos in Ultra HD or HD resolution (based on the plan that you have opted for) without any compromises. However, there will be a minor change, which you probably won't notice. It is not glaring enough on a screen that has FHD or 2K resolution.

Also read: Bored of watching Netflix? Here are 5 browser extensions you can use to add some excitement

So, what will change then?

Lowering the bitrate means that every single image in the video output will be of a slightly lower quality and will require less bits each second (b/sec) to stream. Less bits pushing each second means lesser stress on servers.

Netflix has already lowered the quality in European regions and so has Amazon Prime video. YouTube too has accepted that it will lower the streaming quality in Europe.

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First Published Date: 24 Mar, 21:41 IST
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