Streaming Services Will Default to SD Resolution on Mobile Networks in India During Nationwide Lockdown

Hotstar and Amazon default to SD, while Netflix and SonyLIV are locked to SD.

Streaming Services Will Default to SD Resolution on Mobile Networks in India During Nationwide Lockdown

Photo Credit: Akhil Arora/Gadgets 360

  • Industry body asked everyone to move from HD to SD
  • It also asked streaming services to remove ads
  • All players have complied with resolution, not ads request

Following a request from an industry body — and in the footsteps of YouTube — India's biggest video streaming platforms in Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others are now either defaulting or locking to standard-definition (SD) video resolution on mobile networks in India, to reduce traffic and ease stress, amid the increased need for Internet services, with more people at home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Gadgets 360 has verified that to be the case. While you can switch to higher resolutions on some services, others won't let you push it up unless you're on a Wi-Fi network.

This development comes a few days after the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) asked said companies to move from HD to SD, noting that it was “absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with [mobile operators] so as to manage the traffic distribution patterns” and “ensure smooth functioning of the data communication networks.” COAI had also asked for advertisements to be removed from all platforms, but ads are still visible across the board.

Disney APAC president and Star & Disney India chairman Uday Shankar held a meeting Tuesday with representatives of the three aforementioned platforms, in addition to Google, Facebook, Sony, Viacom18, Zee, MX Player, and TikTok. At said meeting, all players decided to bring down video resolution to 480p — high-definition (HD) is either 720p or 1080p — and stream at lower bitrates than usual on mobile networks. Netflix and SonyLIV are locked to SD on mobile. Hotstar and Amazon default to SD, but you can change that from the settings.

This will be in place till April 14, the last day of the 21-day nationwide lockdown announced Tuesday night by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Can Netflix force Bollywood to reinvent itself? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS. You can also download the episode or just hit the play button below.


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