Streaming services no longer in HD - refund?

As essentially all paid for streaming services in the U.K. are only streaming in SD, are we due a refund of some kind?

I know that Netflix et al have throttled the download speed, but I haven’t noticed any drop in picture quality. Do you have a source for the assertion that the programmes are not in HD?

No, they’re not - and no, you’re not.


Just looking for the article to post here and it does actually state they are still HD / 4K but a reduction of 25% in bitrate. It’s noticeable on Disney+ for sure, but not sure why we continue to pay premium prices when the product is no longer premium quality. Streaming companies must be making a mint during this time when everyone else is being decimated. Surely there’s a case for some kind of recompense?

You’re still getting their full catalogue and access on the same amount of devices with a slight degradation in quality which is not discernible.

Guess it’s times like this when everyone is in need that people show their true colours.

Streaming companies are already taking a financial hit anyway because of the rapid increase in people streaming no doubt costing them significantly more in bandwidth and increased server deployments to cope.


My guess is if the quality difference were noticeable then yes you should be entitled but if it’s not it’s hard to justify one.

Is now really the time to be requesting refunds though?

Plus it’s not just the quality you’re paying extra for, it’s device limits too


A certain amount of that cost goes into paying extra for quality.

Personally I wouldn’t bother but that’s up to the individual, not for us to decide.


I’m not sure of the details for all of the streaming services, but Netflix’s reduction in bit rate was the same for all customers, so if you paid for better quality, you are still getting better quality.


They have not done it for no reason. They have done it in order to continue being able to offer their service under massively increased demand, due to everyone now being at home.


It’s not just about our network infrastructure though. It’s also about whether their infrastructure can cope with the demand.

I would assume their infrastructure wasn’t built with the current demand in mind, since they would usually get some respite while people are at work.


If they’ve done it at the request of the EU, why would you be getting a refund?

They’ve reduced the bitrate, if you’re paying for 4K you’re still getting 4K. What’s the issue? You’re not paying them extra for bitrate and you’ve almost certainly had varying bitrates the whole time you’ve had any of the subscriptions as that’s the nature of streaming services.

If the quality difference was massive I would probably agree with you but I’m streaming Netflix on a 4K TV in what I presume is 4K quality and I can’t see any difference.


Netflix have different plans for different resolutions delivered…

  • Basic Plan: 1 screen plan SD (watch on 1 device at a time, Standard Definition)
  • Standard Plan: 2 screen plan HD (watch on 2 devices at the same time, High Definition when available)
  • Premium Plan: 4 screen plan HD/UHD 4K (watch on 4 devices at the same time, includes High Definition and Ultra High Definition when available)

So perhaps this is a discussion to be had around this.

But it’s not one for me. Not right now.

Sky Sports are offering a pause in the subscription, you can do it online.

Am still able to watch the sports channels though even after cancelling, not that there is much worth watching…


I saw that about Sky Sports - it’s very expensive anyway so I’m sure plenty of people will be pleased to know they can pause it.

Good news with most streaming services is you can cancel anytime so if you’re not impressed with the quality for the time being you can cancel at your will.


There are two things going on here.

Can you ask for a reduction in fees if your streaming service is reducing the bit rate? The answer is, yes. You can always ask. They might say no.

The next question is, can you demand a reduction in fees as compensation for a lower bit rate? This depends on what your agreement with the streaming service says. I’ve never read a user agreement in my life. But if a certain bit rate is guaranteed in the agreement, then you can demand compensation for their inability to keep to their obligations. If they refuse, you can take them to court and you will then be able to demonstrate what harm you suffered because of this.

Good Luck.


Mine are still in HD. They’ve lowered the bandwidth but haven’t just dropped everyone to SD. If yours are, it may be your local internet is under heavy load.

I have had Netflix pop up errors and sign me out very often which has never happened before, I assume its something to do with them being hammered.

Gratefully paused mine two days ago.

Can’t remember last time I watched any of the channels. Probably four weeks ago, I reckon.

Tied in till Xmas day, so pause will be interesting for me as my Sky minimum term will still expire Xmas Day and not sure yet whether I’ll be staying with them, but how would I move provider while still under contract for Sports :man_shrugging:

Something to think about at another time though. Of minor importance to me at the moment tbh

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In relation to this thread and Netflix, I have noticed no difference in bitrate, just in speed of loading on some devices, such as Roku stick.

I think there was a repeat of netball yesterday