YouTube mobile has lifted restrictions on 1080p HD video streaming in India after limiting the streaming quality to 480p or Standard Definition (SD). This was done in an effort to minimize stress on the bandwidth availability as Coronavirus outbreak forced everyone to stay at home and even work from home which resulted in increased use of home Internet and broadband. Google also observed a major uptake in the number of people streaming YouTube videos throughout the day which is why it decided to reduce the streaming quality so as to prevent a major outage of the servers and the system.
Four months from announcing this change, Google is now allowing users on Wi-Fi to streaming YouTube videos in HD 720p, Full HD 1080p and more. However, you can only watch videos on YouTube in HD and above quality if you are using a Wi-Fi network. Otherwise, the YouTube app defaults all videos to 480p quality.
Interestingly, the restrictions were in place just for mobile users during this period of lockdown and on PCs, we were able to watch a YouTube video in 4K UHD without any issues. Earlier, even if you’re connected to a home Wi-Fi network, your mobile device will not stream YouTube content in quality higher than 480p. In fact, if you choose to forego the YouTube app and use the browser on your phone instead, you can get a slightly higher quality stream at 720p.
YouTube was not the only streaming platform to restrict or reduce streaming quality as telecom operators had also urged Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar to lower streaming quality on their respective platforms to reduce the impending strain on network connectivity. According to several reports, online streaming saw over 20 percent increase since the Coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown measures across the world.
Now, YouTube has lifted the restrictions on streaming quality for Wi-Fi users, allowing them to watch videos in HD. While Google hasn’t officially given a statement, we expect YouTube to further ease streaming quality in the coming weeks, even for those who use a cellular connection to browse YouTube.