MultiChoice has lowered the streaming resolution of its DStv Now and Showmax mobile apps.
The company told MyBroadband it wanted to assist ISPs with managing higher bandwidth loads during the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown period.
As is the case with many countries around the world, Internet usage in South Africa has spiked as many citizens work from home and use the Internet for entertainment.
Across the globe, video streaming services have seen a notable increase in demand.
MultiChoice said it therefore wants to reduce data traffic on its services to ease congestion on South Africa’s networks.
The company said it is focussing on mobile traffic in particular and changed the maximum resolution on its mobile apps late last week.
“We’ve limited the maximum resolution for both Showmax and DStv Now live streaming to 576p on our mobile apps,” MultiChoice said.
This means that mobile Showmax and DStv Now users will only be able to watch at this resolution as the maximum.
In normal circumstances, viewers were able to stream DStv Now and Showmax content at a maximum of 720p.
No changes have been made to browser, TV, or decoder-based streaming, but MultiChoice said it is currently busy with other measures and continues to monitor the situation along with locals ISPs.
“If needed, we’ll step in with further traffic reduction measures,” the company said.
Netflix reduces bitrate
MultiChoice’s move follows similar adjustments from Netflix.
After reducing its bitrates in Europe in recent weeks, Netflix confirmed to MyBroadband it would follow suit for streaming in Africa.
Netflix said it will temporarily reduce its bitrate across South Africa and Africa after 23:59 on 30 March 2020.
Bitrate refers to the number of bits per second transmitted through a network. For streaming, a higher bitrate typically allows for better video quality as more data is streamed per second.
Netflix said it has developed a way to reduce traffic on networks by 25% while maintaining the streaming resolutions, however.
“So consumers should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan – whether it’s Ultra-High, High, or Standard Definition,” Netflix said.