(Pocket-lint) - YouTube is extending measures to reduce bandwidth usage by limiting video quality globally, rather than just in Europe.

While UK networks, such as BT and Virgin Media, have confirmed that their networks have more capacity than is currently being used, even with a much bigger upswell in daytime usage due the coronavirus pandemic and UK lockdown, YouTube, like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, PlayStation and other digital entertainment providers, is doing its bit to help.

That is now stretching to every region across the world.

One major step being taken is to offer 480p (standard definition) as the default option for every video request. HD video (and above) will still be available, but must be chosen by the user, with YouTube hoping that the vast majority opt not to.

"We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation," said Google in a statement.

The changes will be introduced over the "coming days" and will last for at least a month as countries tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is not known at this minute whether YouTube is also reducing bitrate on existing videos - like Netflix and Amazon. Disney+, on the other hand, has gone one step further and dropped all 4K videos down to HD (and cut Dolby Atmos) for the time being.

Writing by Rik Henderson.