Lockdown: Video streaming firms suspend HD, ultra HD transmission on mobile

Video streaming apps like Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video and Tiktok have suspended transmission of high definition and ultra high definition content on mobile networks during the 21-day lockdown period. Sony, Google, Facebook, Viacom18, MX Player, Hotstar, Zee, Tiktok, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have decided to transmit only standard definition content to reduce load on cellular networks till April 14. “The digital industry has decided to act immediately in the larger national and consumer interest and to ensure the robustness of the cellular network,” digital companies said in a joint statement. It was unanimously agreed that as an exceptional measure, all companies will immediately adopt measures, including temporarily defaulting HD and ultra-HD streaming to SD content or offering only SD content, at bitrates no higher than 480p on cellular networks, they said. Telecom industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has urged mobile consumers to use data networks responsibly, so critical services can run smoothly on communications infrastructure. Mobile users can also do their bit by choosing to time some of their online activities during off-peak hours, like early morning or late evening, it said. “The Prime Minister’s call for social distancing and a now total lockdown has led to people staying at their homes. This has caused an unprecedented surge in mobile internet consumption. “As a result, the government and the telecom operators are concerned about its potential impact on the cellular network infrastructure,” the joint statement said. According to COAI there has been a 20-30 per cent increase in data demand just in the last few days, as the states and union territories imposed lockdowns, and took measures to encourage social distancing and work from home, to check the spread of Covid-19. “The digital industry is acutely aware of this challenge and is committed to ensuring that all citizens are able to access mobile networks wherever and whenever they want,” the joint statement said.

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