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EU calls for switch to SD video streams to save networks from collapse

EU calls to switch to SD video to save internet network from collapse
(Image credit: Netflix)

The EU is urging Netflix to switch its video streams from high-definition (HD) to standard-definition (SD) to help prevent the internet breaking during the COVID-19 crisis.

On Wednesday, EU commissioner Thierry Bretton tweeted that he had phoned Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings to "#SwitchToStandard definition when HD is not necessary".

With millions of us being asked to stay indoors and self-isolate, Breton admits he's worried that vital data might stop flowing: "Teleworking & streaming help a lot but infrastructures might be in strain."

A Netflix spokesperson confirmed to CNN that Hastings did indeed speak with the EU commissioner – but did not say whether the company will respect Breton's wishes and make the switch.

"Commissioner Breton is right to highlight the importance of ensuring that the internet continues to run smoothly during this critical time," commented a company representative. "We've been focused on network efficiency for many years."

The streaming giant also pointed out that it already uses 'adaptive bit rate' technology to tailor the quality of video streams to network capacity, and keep a lid on bandwidth consumption.

The Netflix CEO is due to pick up the conversation with Breton later today, so we can expect an update by tomorrow (Friday 20th March).

In the meantime, Netflix subscribers can always support the #SwitchToStandard campaign by manually switching to SD in the streaming service's settings menu.

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