YouTube will limit video quality for everyone by default for a month

Kris Holt
Contributing Writer
Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images

The next time you load up a YouTube video, it probably won't look as sharp as you'd normally expect, at least at first. From today, videos will start playing in standard definition by default for the next month, though you can still bump up the resolution manually from the settings.

It follows a similar measure YouTube and many other streaming platforms have adopted temporarily in Europe to lower their bandwidth usage amid the coronavirus outbreak. EU regulators asked them to make the change to ease internet congestion in the region for the time being.

"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," YouTube owner Google told Bloomberg.

As more people are staying at home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, streaming video usage has risen dramatically in many areas. While YouTube viewership has typically peaked in the evenings, it said usage is now more consistent throughout the day.