If you own a 4K TV, you’ll be pleased with the change from Netflix

If you own a 4K TV, you'll be pleased with the change from Netflix

Despite the vast majority of people in the UK still being encouraged to stay at home to work and study, Netflix is clearly confident that UK broadband infrastructure can handle a return to the typical streaming quality. And it's not alone. Despite an increase in outages nationwide [], the latest report from telecoms regulator Ofcom states UK's broadband speeds have withstood a surge in demand during the COVID-19 lockdown with the majority of consumers maintaining a good connection throughout the crisis so far.

Netflix sends out multiple quality bit streams for every video quality option it offers. Depending on how much you pay a month for your Netflix subscription, this could include Standard Definition (SD), High Definition (HD), and Ultra High Definition or 4K quality (UHD). In order to reduce strain on broadband cables across the UK, Europe and in Australia, Netflix agreed to remove the highest bandwidth stream. So, the highest possible bit rate for UHD streams was no longer available.

“If you are particularly tuned into video quality you may notice a very slight decrease in quality within each resolution. But you will still get the video quality you paid for,” Netflix Vice President of Content Delivery Ken Florance said at the time.

Those watching on a 4K TV who pay for the most expensive monthly subscription plan and have a fast fibre broadband connection should start to see the highest quality streams back online. This is a staggered roll-out – in order to assess the impact – so not everyone will already be back to the highest quality stream.

“We are working with ISPs to help increase capacity. In the last month alone we have added four times the normal capacity. As conditions improve we will lift these limitations,” the video on-demand company confirmed in a statement to Android Central.

Netflix was not alone when it introduced these measures. Apple, Amazon and YouTube were also quick to place restrictions on the highest quality video streams in order to ease the strain while vast swathes of the population were in strict lockdown.

Like Netflix, a number of these have eased these limitations. Apple reverted its Apple TV+ video service, which includes the award-winning The Morning Show and Saving Jacob, to normal at the end of April.

Written by David Minister
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