COVID-19: Hotstar and others to cut HD bitrate in India

Coronavirus effect: Hotstar, Netlix, Amazon Prime Video and others may cease HD streaming in India

In the last one week, there has been a sudden increase in COVID-19 infections in India and to curb further spread of the coronavirus, the Union government, depending on the region, has begun closing government-run offices and even asked private corporate companies to shut down their offices.

Most of the employees have been asked to work from home. Also, to avoid children getting infected with COVID-19, all schools and other educational institutions are under lockdown. 

With most of the 1.3 billion-plus population locked inside the home, there is a high chance of a spike in internet consumption, mostly through multimedia streaming apps on mobile and computers.

If this lockdown continues for long, there is a serious chance of breakdown of telecommunication network, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has warned in a letter to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

COAI, which has members such as Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone-Idea, and associate partner ACT has also urged popular Over-The-Top (OTT) players --Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Sony Liv, Alt Balaji, and YouTube, among others to reduce the content quality from HD to SD so that it doesn't burden the cellular network infrastructure.

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The move by COAI comes just days after Thierry Breton, commissioner of the European Union Internal Market, made similar requests to the OTT players.

So far, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video have agreed to lower the video streaming bitrate for a period of 30 days in Europe. Even Facebook and Instagram too, have announced to cut down bitrate of the videos on their respective social media platforms. This initiative is expected to reduce around 25-percent load off the internet traffic in the European Union.

Must read | Netflix and others to cease HD streaming over COVID-19

It remains to be seen if OTT players in India respond positively to the COAI's request.

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