We have seen how telecommunication services in Europe have been affected by the result of many countries going into lockdown or having people work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The need to work online along with people having more time to catch up on Netflix, YouTube and whatever else they watch was obviously causing even the speedy connections in Europe to suffer as a result.
So I guess it should come as no surprise that South Africa has encountered the same problems going into lockdown. and perhaps even more so now that one of the undersea cables connecting us to the rest of Europe was damaged over the weekend. To alleviate this pressure on the countries telecommunications networks, Business Insider is reporting that all of South Africa’s big streaming giants – Netflix, Showmax, and DStv Now – will begin implementing measures to reduce their impact on the system.
For Netflix, this means a 35% drop in their bitrate into the country which the company claims will not reduce the overall resolution of the high-definition streaming, though a drop in bitrate will likely cause more pixelation and less crisp visuals.
As for Showmax and DStvNow, Multichoice, who owns both, has revealed that they will reduce its live-streaming resolution to 565p on mobile devices, while the company indicates they are working on other measures alongside the different internet service providers to manage the load across the country’s networks. It’s unclear at this point in time if we will see a similar response from the likes of YouTube and Amazon.
So if you’re wondering why your image quality isn’t quite the same as you’re streaming your favourite show, now you know why. I guess that’s the price we all have to pay for staying at home and saving the world.
Last Updated: March 31, 2020