As people are sequestered at home due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, usage of streaming services has understandably increased markedly in recent weeks. In order to reduce strain on internet networks, officials in Europe have instructed streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV+ to reduce the amount of bandwidth in use by their services. Apple’s limiting of streaming quality in Europe is the best way to accomplish the goal of preserving bandwidth for everyone.
All Apple TV+ content is theoretically available in 4K and HD formats.
However, at least for the time being, customers may experience greatly reduced quality. Apple appears to be serving video streams with resolutions as low as 670 pixels tall. In addition to lower resolution, the streams appear heavily compressed with visibly blocky artifacts. The degradation in video quality is very noticeable, and even more so on the >40-inch televisions most people have in their living rooms these days.
European customers are also seeing reduced quality from services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, but Apple’s chosen streaming quality sticks out as being particularly aggressive. Amazon Prime and Netflix still seem to be serving HD streams, whereas Apple’s is the kind of quality you would expect from streaming on a phone over a 3G network.
MacDailyNews Take: As Mayo notes, it’s possible Apple will be able to lessen the degradation of quality as bandwidth needs are assessed by ISPs in coming days.
MacDailyNews Note: More info on the Prevention & Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) via the U.S. CDC is here. Track the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) here.