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Things We Saw Today: Europe Asks Netflix to Lower Quality so They Don’t Break the Internet

Netflix, CHILL.

Geralt of Rivia with sword on The Witcher

With coronavirus precautions and social distancing keeping a lot of people at home in Europe (as well as here in the U.S.), the European Union Commissioner Thierry Breton shared that he spoke this week with Netflix’s CEO, to switch Netflix from HD to standard definition to ease the load on stressed networks.

This is part of a larger effort to get streamers like Netflix to switch back from high def (and even 4k) to standard definition when there is a high demand on internet resources, as there is right now with so many both working from home and seeking out entertainment while social distancing.

Netflix, it seems, may have already been doing that, according to a statement given to Entertainment Weekly. “Commissioner Breton is right to highlight the importance of ensuring that the Internet continues to run smoothly during this critical time. We’ve been focused on network efficiency for many years, including providing our open connect service for free to telecommunications companies.”

When there’s high traffic in a network, Netflix already automatically lowers quality, apparently. This means our Netflix here in the U.S. might chill as we work from home and stream more. If you want 4k HD, it might be time to bust out the BluRay player.

(via Entertainment Weekly, image: Netflix)

Here are some other things we saw today as we surfed that crowded web.

  • Want to get out of the house? Good news then, because your local national park is probably free right now! (via The Oregonian)
  • Medical shows are donating their reserved equipment to hospitals facing shortages. (via Mashable)
  • Sea otter cam! (via Monterey Bay Aquarium)
  • Schitt’s Creek Funkos! This is not a drill!

  • Be careful how you joke about weight and food during coronavirus isolation. (via Mashable)
  • A massive amount of academic books and journals on the JSTOR catalog just became free to the public! (via University Times)
  • GameStop is refusing to close stores because they claim to be “essential retail.” Uh … huh … (via Kotaku)
  • And finally: Nick Frost and Simon Pegg paid homage to Shaun of the Dead with a message about social distancing.

What great things did you see today?

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.