Streaming giants YouTube and Netflix are to limit their video stream quality to ease pressure on internet providers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Internet service providers are preparing themselves for increased internet traffic as huge numbers log on from home for both work and entertainment, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

YouTube and Netflix decided to implement the video quality changes after the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Thierry Breton, urged platforms to help infrastructure handle any potential usage increase.

Netflix said it expects its limit - which will last for 30 days - to cut network traffic by around 25%.

YouTube said its scheme will see video quality limited to standard definition, also for 30 days.

A spokesperson for YouTube said they had so far seen little change in the peaks for usage, instead mostly seeing changes in usage patterns with more people at home, with usage expanding across longer hours.

"People are coming to YouTube to find authoritative news, learning content and make connections during these uncertain times.

"While we have seen only a few usage peaks, we have measures in place to automatically adjust our system to use less network capacity."

YouTube also confirmed it was introducing a new area on its homepage dedicated to news about Covid-19 from trustworthy sources.

In response to all the changes, Mr Breton said: "Millions of Europeans are adapting to social distancing measures thanks to digital platforms, helping them to telework, e-learn and entertain themselves.

"I warmly welcome the initiative that Google has taken to preserve the smooth functioning of the internet during the Covid-19 crisis by having YouTube switch all EU traffic to standard definition by default.

"I appreciate the strong responsibility that Mr Pichai and Mrs Wojcicki have demonstrated. We will closely follow the evolution of the situation together."