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Apple TV+ reportedly cuts streaming quality in Europe

Apple appears to be lowering video streaming quality of its Apple TV+ service in Europe at the request of the European Union, following similar moves from streaming platforms like Netflix and YouTube.

Like Netflix and YouTube, Apple TV+ has reportedly cut streaming quality in Europe.

Like Netflix and YouTube, Apple TV+ has reportedly cut streaming quality in Europe.

With many more staying at home in Europe due to COVID-19, the number of people using broadband internet services has skyrocketed. To help ease the strain on networks, the EU asked streaming platforms to consider temporarily reducing video quality — an order that Netflix and YouTube complied with earlier this week.

Now, it appears that Apple is following suit. The Cupertino tech giant seems to be serving videos in lower resolutions and reduced bitrates, 9to5Mac reported on Friday. Compared to other streaming services, the downgrade in quality is being described as "aggressive."

That degradation may be especially noticeable because of Apple TV+'s usual high quality. A report from November indicated that the Apple streaming platform boasted the highest bitrate of any 4K-compatible service on the market.

At this point, it's unclear whether streaming providers will make similar changes in the U.S. or other regions. Broadband usage during business hours in the U.S. has risen 41% in March thus far, according to data from analytics firm OpenVault.

Most U.S. internet providers claim that they are well-prepared for significant spikes, however. As of publication time, neither ISPs or the government have called for any bandwidth-saving measures.

Apple has yet to confirm cuts to video quality in any region.