Disney+ Launch in Europe Takes a Hit as the Service Agrees to Lower Streaming Quality

By Shabana Arif on at

Now that we're all self-isolating, and 'working' from home, every bugger is booting up streaming services at an unprecedented level, and the services are having to reduce streaming quality to cope. And that goes for the Disney+ too, which is launching tomorrow.

Disney Chairman, Kevin Mayer, has confirmed that the EU will see a reduction in bandwidth by at least 25 per cent to cope with the increased usage expected when Disney+ launches tomorrow, March 24, in Europe and the UK. According to BT, internet traffic during the day has surged by 60 per cent as more people join the ranks of remote workers and self-isolate. The ISP notes that the increased traffic is "only around half the average evening peak, and nowhere near the 17.5 Tb/s we have proved the network can handle," so there's no need to panic about not being able to binge watch your shows while you're supposed to working. Mayer said:

"In line with Disney's longstanding commitment to act responsibly, we are responding to the request of European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton to work together to ensure the smooth functioning of the broadband infrastructure. In anticipation of high consumer demand for Disney+, we are proactively instituting measures to lower our overall bandwidth utilisation by at least 25% in all of the markets launching Disney+ on March 24th.

"In the coming days, we will be monitoring Internet congestion and working closely with Internet service providers to further reduce bitrates as necessary to ensure they are not overwhelmed by consumer demand."

Breton has called on people to help ease the burden on our infrastructure by rallying behind the hashtag #SwitchToStandard, saying we should watch in SD "when HD is not necessary." He didn't elaborate on what counts as a necessary time to use HD, so we'll just go ahead and assume he's talking about porn. Which you should be trying to avoid during work hours.

Last week, Netflix announced it would be lowering its streaming quality too, with Amazon and YouTube also following suit.

Maybe Disney+'s bloody stupid decision to only launch the first two episodes of The Mandalorian in the UK at launch was to prevent everyone from sucking up all the bandwidth with their binge watching. But we doubt it. [Engadget]