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Streaming Video Is 70 Percent of Broadband Use (recode.net) 89

An anonymous reader writes: Streaming entertainment is now the dominant form of broadband usage in North America. A new report from Sandvine says streaming accounts for roughly 70% of downstream traffic during peak times, and 65% of total traffic. That represents a doubling of video/audio streaming since five years ago. "Much of the increase comes from YouTube and Netflix, which already accounted for more than half of your broadband usage a couple of years ago, and continue to grow. But now those services are joined by relatively new entrants, like Amazon* and Hulu, which barely registered a couple of years ago and now account for nearly 6 percent of usage." Streaming doesn't take up such a big portion of traffic on mobile, but it still takes up more than any other type of traffic. It accounts for about 41% of peak downstream traffic, and 37% overall.
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Streaming Video Is 70 Percent of Broadband Use

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  • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @01:37AM (#51078633)

    Considering most other web content is just downloading some text and static pictures, I'm surprised only 70% of downstream traffic at peak times is streaming video. I guess that goes to show how good compression on streaming video is.

    • Digital software distribution could be big, too. A game purchased on Steam can mean a couple hours of saturated broadband.

      • by Trepidity ( 597 )

        Automatic updates to software too. Windows, OSX, and friends regularly pull down big updates. So do game consoles, Android and iOS apps, etc.

      • by grumbel ( 592662 )

        Not that big, you only download a 50GB game from Steam like once a month, probably a lot less. HD streaming on the other side you can have running for hours each day (average American watches like 4h TV a day).

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          I wonder how much of this is actively watched. I suspect, excluding my ISO torrents, I stream at least that much but it's on in the background and streams documentaries as I go to sleep or while I'm sleeping.

    • by pipedwho ( 1174327 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @02:06AM (#51078721)

      And where does bittorrent factor into all of this?

      That last 30% has to be distributed amongst all the other traditional high bandwidth users: porn, torrents, and massive software updates/downloads.

      • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @02:27AM (#51078771)

        That's a very good point.

        Weren't the RIAA/MPAA just telling us last year how the majority of Internet traffic was people torrenting (and assumedly pirating media)?

        Now the figures say the fast amount of usage is people consuming media legally. Guess pirating isn't the big problem they said it was.

        • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

          Guess pirating isn't the big problem they said it was.

          And everybody in the world except anybody not an RIAA/MPAA lawyer was shocked to hear this.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@nOSpam.worf.net> on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @03:36AM (#51078907)

          That's a very good point.

          Weren't the RIAA/MPAA just telling us last year how the majority of Internet traffic was people torrenting (and assumedly pirating media)?

          Now the figures say the fast amount of usage is people consuming media legally. Guess pirating isn't the big problem they said it was.

          Well, that was a few years ago. In the meantime, a bunch of legit streaming services popped up - Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc. etc. etc.

          In fact, over the past 5 or so years, the amount of traffic Netflix consumes has grown and overtaken BitTorrent as the main downstream traffic (BitTorrent is still king on upstream). The only time Netflix is dethroned are the few days Apple releases a massive update (OS X or iOS) and pretty much overwhelms the Internet for a couple of days.

          Basically, what has happened was we proved the assertion that people mostly pirate because they can't get what they want legally. Well, the rise of iTunes and other music retailers, digital downloads of TV shows and movies, streaming services like Netflix and HBO, music streaming services, pretty much goes to show that really, a good chunk of piracy was caused by the lack of legal options. (Heck, we knew iTunes did that - would people pirate music or would they buy it? The rise of iTunes' supremacy in selling music showed if you give them a consistent high quality source with little money, people will buy it over free).

          Hell, even YouTube's got decent quality content up there as well.

          Now if the rest of the world would get off their ass, look what happened in the US, and follow suit with providing legal services.

          And yes, the remaining 30% is mostly BitTorrent. But that's a huge shift from when BitTorrent was the massive user of bandwidth by far.

          • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @03:47AM (#51078931)

            Many years ago I used to rip movies and download stuff from... sites...

            Until cheap streaming came out... Between Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, etc. there is no longer a reason to pirate anything...

            Offer a reasonable product for a reasonable price and people will pay, including me...

            It really isn't rocket science...

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Between Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, etc. there is no longer a reason to pirate anything...

              Except in cases like this [theoatmeal.com]

            • by Joe NoBloggs ( 4145279 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @07:28AM (#51079527)
              Yes, no reason at all... Except the constant removal of your favourite shows. Or things never turn up in your country because, you know, agreements and stuff. Or not being able to watch where you want because of bandwidth issues. Piracy is still the number 1 user friendly service, you get all the stuff as soon as it's out and no-one can take it away on a whim or because a new deal wasn't cut.
              • And for those reasons I still torrent a bunch of stuff and store it on my drives, even though I pay for a Netflix subscription and some of the stuff I torrent is actually on Netflix in my country. I honestly don't mind paying a decent fee / month to be able to watch a wide range of shows, but this bullshit over regional availability and then removing shows you like has to stop.

                It would also be nice if Netflix would stop being a dick to my bandwidth and give me H265 content at reasonable bitrates, since the

                • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
                  I like netflix since the subtitles are always there, it remembers where I was across multiple devices, and I use a vpn to grab content from wherever they have it available.
              • Except that for something like Netflix, I know and understand that I'm basically paying a renting/streaming service and I'm not buying the TV shows and movies.

                What would help is if Netflix could get off their arses and implement all the ideas I've sent them. One of them is adding a coloured corner on the posters to tell us that a TV show/movie will be removed soon with green, yellow and red corners to further indicate how much time is left. Red = less than 90 days left, yellow = less than 30 days left, red

              • Those are fair and reasonable points...

                All I can say is that there is more legal content than I can ever consume in a lifetime, and at some point my time and energy are better spent elsewhere...

                Downloading stuff via bittorrent takes times, storing it and finding it takes time and money, and at some point you just tire of it.

                It is also worth noting that via Amazon, you can buy many shows/movies via Amazon Video and then you own them forever. Even if they no longer sell new copies (which does happen sometime

            • It would be even higher if for-pay Hulu didn't still have commercials in the shows. Once I read that, I didn't even consider getting it. I watched all (well, still maddeningly waiting for the last half) of Mad Men on Netflix; I can't imagine bothering to watch even a show about advertising that is interrupted by advertising.
            • by Anonymous Coward

              Yes, there is a reason: All of those sites give money to the MAFIAA (Music And Film Industry Associations of America). These companies use the money they earn and the influence it gives them to have the legislative enact laws which cripple freedom on the internet and make mandatory technological inhibitions which turn our own devices against us. By giving money to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc. instead of pirating or abstaining, you support the erosion of our freedoms.

            • Between Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, etc. there is no longer a reason to pirate anything

              Anything? Let me know when the film Song of the South, the film Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, or the TV series Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea becomes lawfully available in the United States on streaming or even on DVD.

              • Fair enough, I concede those items.

                Of course, if they aren't for sale and aren't likely to be for sale anytime soon, then is it really piracy to copy them?

                I would submit there is room in copyright for abandoned works to move to public domain.

        • The MPAA counts Netflix as piracy.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I have to be careful not to mix metaphors here, but the elephant in the room is porn... I'm told there are now loads of porn streaming sites, and much of the content is pirate. I sort of wonder if that has always been the case, since the BBS days.

          Asking for a friend etc.

        • Yep, and now the internet companies who had basically been saying anyone who really uses their broadband is a "dirty pirate" are going to have to seriously look at their infrastructure. People are actually USING all that pipe.

          I think that rather than complaining about "heavy users", ISP's really should count them as a blessing. Consider it market research - whatever usage you perceive to be "excessive" now will be the norm in 5-7 more years. Build out your network accordingly.

      • You forgot about SPAM.

  • Apparently it dosent take any bandwidth at all its all just youtube netflix and hulu.
  • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @01:49AM (#51078667)
    How much of this is actually just video advertisements? Without ad blocking software on im just spammed with video on every page. Moreover you have to sit through advertisements on many of the popular streaming services. I would be interested to know the total bandwidth involved as a percentage of total bandwidth.
  • Ever since Microsoft hatched windows vista and then proceeded to to screw over everybody with windows 8 and now the biggest " all your files are belong to us " release of windows 10 that screws over 7 with an automatic update. I am surprised this time they didn't hire the Stones to re release one of their songs and change the lyric from HEY HEY YOU YOU to Hey Hey who you you get onto our cloud. Like a scene from a rock and roll horror picture with a zombie geriatric rock band suddenly comes back to change h
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DanJ_UK ( 980165 ) *
      You need to drink less caffeine.
      • You need to drink less caffeine.

        Read my next post please it explains exactly why I am a little pissed at having my connection blacked out. I suspect that the internet infrastructure in BC is going to need a major rework because of streaming crap on the net. It just cost me half a work day when the net went down and perhaps a sale.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      You forgot to write "Microsoft" as "Micro$oft".

    • A "get onto our cloud" jingle sounds plausible given the music choice Microsoft made for the Windows 95 ad campaign two decades ago. It makes a grown man cry.

  • My previous post was a rant because I was in the middle of installing windows and linux as an audio server for a client when this happened. Now I have to start the windows configuration all over before I put in the Linux drive and reconfigure grub to dual boot both drives, A royal pain in the ass because I was in the middle of activating the windows OEM and now I have to phone Microshaft again GRRRRRRR

    The lie is Shaw was down for more than just two hours we did not get our node on the hub back until just an

  • Illegal downloads (Score:4, Interesting)

    by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @02:42AM (#51078815) Homepage

    This conclusion does not match with the extensive research of the movie industry that they are losing billions on illegal downloads of movies. Unless... as 70% is considered legal streaming they must be making twice the money on streaming than they lose on illegal downloads.

    • Internet is a threat to movie-industry; say about 20 years ago, the cost to rent a movie or buy a DVD was high [relative to say a dinner price]. Today netflix/youtube are cheap because the market forces forced them to be so. Else people will go for pirated content. movie-industry was making huge profit from selling DVDs/blu-rays for a very high price; now with new sources of video content on internet, people no longer spend that much to movie-industry. They some how tried to limit the competition; but faile
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      You're making the false assumption that all content is worth the same. I could put up an hour of me being a goofball on YouTube and be happy to be legally streamed for fifty bucks of ad revenue, while HBO might be slightly annoyed if that's all an episode of Game of Thrones grossed. It's a bit like measuring shoplifting by weight when people steal diamonds and pay for groceries.

  • The intertubes has become the haunted goldfish bowl. Personally, I think we should 'leave' port 80/443 and start somewhere else, but how long before that gets filled up with pictures of cats and Donald Trump too? Oh, despair...
  • Quadruple everyone's bandwidth. It will drop from 70% to 70% / 4 ...or just 17.5%.

    Problem solved!

    • "The OS will expand to consume all the machine's resources"..only, for the internet. People will just watch more video.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    File sharing protocols are throttled while the real bandwidth hogs, the streaming couch potatoes, drive up the network costs that we all pay. Peak demand defines the required network capacity! I say stop the injustice! Stop making us subsidize streaming with our off-peak usage!

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      I say run the meter when the connection is congested and stop running it when it's underutilized. That's what satellite does, with cap-free early mornings.

  • Have you guys tried Crackle? Because I have and even though it's free I absolutely hate it. There's ads. Okay, that's the price of free I suppose, but the problem is with the ads themselves:

    1. The ads will cut the TV show or movie without warning, right in the middle of a scene. It's like the ads are on a fixed timer instead of knowing where they can be played. Whoever thought this was a good idea is a complete idiot. Strike one.

    2. There's only half a handful of ads that play over and over. Last time I trie

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