YouTube India restricts video streaming to 480p for mobile users

YouTube’s mobile app on Android and iOS now shows 480p as the highest streaming quality.

YouTube decreases maximum video quality streaming to 480p in India.
YouTube decreases maximum video quality streaming to 480p in India. (Pixabay)

YouTube has restricted video quality in India to 480p or SD (Standard Definition) for its mobile app. This means that the highest streaming quality for any video on YouTube will be 480p by default. YouTube's desktop app hasn't seen any change so far and users can still stream videos above 480p.

This change comes shortly after Google and other companies like Netflix and Hotstar decided to limit video streaming quality to 480p during the 21-day lockdown period in India. This is a move taken by the companies to help lessen the load on internet traffic. Also, the change affects smartphone apps which is understandable since India is estimated to have over 400 million mobile phone internet users.

YouTube also announced last Tuesday that it will be lowering the video quality around the world after doing it first in the EU.

"We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation. Last week, we announced that we were temporarily defaulting all videos on YouTube to standard definition in the EU. Given the global nature of this crisis, we will expand that change globally starting today," a Google spokesperson said on March 24.

While the change was in effect from March 24, it was spotted only yesterday in India first by XDA Developers. YouTube on desktop hasn't seen any change as yet. Videos can still be streamed in the available resolutions like 1080p and even 4K. The same is also expected on YouTube's Android TV app.

Similar move has been taken by companies like Netflix in India which reduced the video quality. Netflix viewers can still watch videos in HD or UHD according to their subscription plan but the quality will be slightly lower than original. Facebook which is seeing an increase of 50% on its services has also reduced the video quality for Facebook and Instagram.