Earlier this month, YouTube reduced the quality of videos streamed on the platform to SD (Standard Definition) quality by default in Europe. This was done keeping in mind bandwidth constraints and to avoid straining the internet due to the surge in user count amid the coronavirus situation.
YouTube is now extending that move to users across the globe. YouTube videos will now play at SD quality by default – instead of HD or a higher resolution – to save bandwidth as more users come to the platform during the coronavirus lockdown.
However, users will still have the option to switch to a higher resolution if they want. YouTube joins Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video among other platforms that have recently reduced bitrate to keep the infrastructure from overloading due to traffic stress.
YouTube: Google Support