Netflix cut streaming data bitrates yesterday, while YouTube reduced streaming quality this morning. According to 9to5Mac, Apple TV+ streaming quality was recently lowered as well, resulting in lower resolution streams and heavily compressed content with visibly blocky artifacts.
9to5Mac says that the lowered quality is “very noticeable,” especially on larger-sized television sets, and quite a departure from the 4K HDR content that Apple normally offers. Resolutions are said to be as low as 670 pixels tall.
Compared to other services like Netflix that have also lowered quality to save data, Apple’s streaming quality is described as “particularly aggressive” and akin to the kind of quality one might expect from “streaming on a phone over a 3G network.”
At the current time, streaming content providers have only been asked to lower streaming quality in Europe, so the lower streaming rates do not affect the United States and other countries. The United States has not called on streaming content providers to implement data reduction measures.
It’s not clear how long Apple plans to stream with reduced quality and whether tweaks will be made for a better compromise between quality and data usage. Netflix has said that it will continue using the lower quality stream for the next 30 days.