Crave temporarily reducing ‘quality of streams on some devices’ amid COVID-19

It's unclear if this relates to resolution or bitrate


As the COVID-19 outbreak continues and Canadians are in social isolation and using the internet more frequently, Bell’s Crave streaming service says it has “temporarily reduced the quality of streams on some devices.”

Crave declined to expand on whether this quality reduction relates to resolution or bitrate, as well as which devices it affects.

A Canadian Press story widely published across several mainstream news publications, says that Crave’s 1080p and “4K” streams will be reduced to 720p on Android mobile devices and Chromecast, as well as iPhones, iPads and the Apple TV.

Crave does not offer a 4K tier despite frequently stating ultra high-definition quality is part of its roadmap.

It’s likely platforms capable of streaming Crave in 1080p, which includes iOS and Android, the Xbox One and Apple TV, have been reduced to 720p.

It’s also possible that Bell has lowered the bitrate of Crave programming and not the resolution. However, this is unlikely given the service is already notorious for streaming content in low quality.

It’s unclear how long Bell plans to reduce the quality of Crave’s video for.

Netflix also lowered video quality in Canada as demand on internet bandwidth increases. The streaming platform says that all Netflix tiers will deliver the same quality, whether its standard-definition, high-definition or 4K, and that only the bitrate has been reduced.

Google-owned YouTube also recently confirmed it is reducing default video quality around the world during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.