Netflix reducing bitrate to South African streamers for 30 days

As we move into the second week of lockdown in South Africa, more people than ever before are subscribed to Netflix in the country and people are streaming more content than ever before. This is putting marked and unexpected pressure on Netflix’s infrastructure on the continent and in SA.

Netflix has decided to reduce the streaming bitrate for the next 30 days to alleviate this pressure on their systems during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Most people shouldn’t notice a big (or any) difference to their streaming quality, as the streaming giant said in a statement that it will reduce the “streaming bitrate” across markets in Africa by 25% until the end of April. This is similar measures to what it is employing elsewhere around the world.

“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,” said Netflix’s vice-president of content delivery, Ken Florance.

Users have also been advised to switch from high-definition to standard-definition where possible. It is estimated that an hour of standard-definition video uses up about 1GB of data, while the same amount of high-definition video can run as high as 3GB.

However, the company has also said that picture quality will still be good – so those staying at home for the foreseeable future should still be able to rely on a high-quality viewing experience to help get them through it.