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Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime agree to offer only SD video content


Video streaming platforms including Hotstar, Netflix, Sony and Amazon Prime have jointly agreed to reduce their video quality to only standard definition (SD) with immediate effect.

As part of the voluntary measure, the high definition or HD and ultra HD streams will be suspended till April 14, which is when the 21-day lockdown announced on Tuesday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ends.

“The digital industry has decided to act immediately in the larger national and consumer interest and to ensure the robustness of the cellular network,” said a statement after a meeting organised by Uday Shankar, chairman of Star & Disney India, with the stakeholders on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by NP Singh (Sony), Sanjay Gupta (Google), Ajit Mohan (Facebook), Sudhanshu Vats (Viacom18), Gaurav Gandhi (Amazon
Prime Video), Punit Goenka (Zee), Nikhil Gandhi (TikTok), Ambika Khurana (Netflix), Karan Bedi (MX Player) and Varun Narang (Hotstar).

“It was unanimously agreed that as an exceptional measure, all companies will immediately adopt measures, including temporarily defaulting HD and
ultra-HD streaming to SD content or offering only SD content, at bitrates no higher than 480p on cellular networks,” it added.

Besides. Google-owned YouTube also has reduced the streaming quality for users in India.

The video platform said that it will temporarily default HD and ultra-HD streaming to SD content at bitrates no higher than 480p on mobile networks, until April 14.

“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,” a Google spokesperson said.

Due to recent lockdown or quarantine measures announced in the country, there has been a sudden surge in demand for online video streaming as people are confined to their homes amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier on March 23, the Cellular Operators Association of India or COAI had requested the department of telecommunications to ask video streaming platforms to reduce their streaming quality from high-definition to standard-definition. It had also asked OTT platforms in the country to consider the proposal.

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