Google will lower YouTube video quality worldwide due to Coronavirus -- here's how to get around that

YouTube and popcorn

With so many people self-isolating due to the Coronavirus, the internet is getting hammered. No, people are not learning new things en masse on Wikipedia. Instead, they are doing exactly what you'd expect -- watching streaming video from services like Netflix. Look, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a little entertainment -- especially when it can take your mind off a global pandemic. The problem, unfortunately, is that high definition and 4K video use up a lot of bandwidth.

You see, if enough people watch high-quality video all at once, the internet could slow down and become unusable. And so, in some parts of the world, such as Europe, services like YouTube and Netflix are providing lower-quality video streams (480p) to reduce the overall impact on the internet. Sadly, Google has now decided to do this globally with YouTube -- including in the USA -- for at least a month. Ugh. Thankfully, there is an easy way to get around that.

In a statement provided to Bloomberg, regarding this new policy Google says "We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation."

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Here's the deal, folks -- Google is only lowering the default quality of its streams. As of now, it is not preventing users from increasing the quality after the video starts. On desktop, all you must do is click on the gear icon and change the quality to whatever is available -- 1080p, 4K, or even 8K. On mobile, you would tap on the three dots and then tap on the gear to do the same.

As an example, check out the above video I recorded in 8K. Click on it to start the video playing. Next, just click the little gear icon and voilà -- you will see several resolutions available, ranging from the low-quality 144p and going all the way up to the super high-end 8K. Choose whatever you'd like.

The real question, of course, is should you increase the video quality? By increasing the quality, it can be argued that you are being morally irresponsible. After all, if everyone did this, it would defeat the purpose entirely. Your naughty behavior could contribute to the downfall of the internet! Ultimately, only you can make that determination.

Image credit: Riccosta / Shutterstock

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