Netflix, YouTube switch off HD in Europe

Netflix and YouTube have bad news for Europeans trying to pass time in self-isolation.

They're switching off high definition streaming in the region.

Not stopping the services altogether, but downgrading to less sharp images.

Netflix chief Reed Hastings agreed to act Thursday (March 19) after an an appeal from the European Commission.

It's concerned that the region's internet could face gridlock if everyone tries to watch HD videos at home.

That could pose a risk to emergency services, businesses that have switched to home working, and children now doing remote learning.

Even on a standard weekday evening, the likes of Netflix account for about 80% of available bandwidth in France.

Streaming in HD uses about three times the amount of data as standard definition.

The Commission acted after network operators including Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom reported spikes in online traffic.

YouTube confirmed Friday (March 20) that it too would downgrade streaming quality.