Network end users to pull down 2 gigabytes a day, continuously?

Michael.Dillon at Michael.Dillon at
Sun Jan 7 13:12:52 UTC 2007

> 2.  The question I don't understand is, why stream?  In these days, when 
> terabyte disk for consumer PCs is about to be introduced, why bother 
> streaming?  It is so much simpler to download (at faster than real-time 
> if possible), and play it back.

Very good question. The fact is that people have
been doing Internet TV without streaming for years
now. That's why P2P networks use so much bandwidth.
I've used it myself to download Russian TV shows
that are not otherwise available here in England.
Of course the P2P folks aren't just dumping raw DVB
MPEG-2 streams onto the network. They are recompressing
them using more advanced codecs so that they do not
consume unreasonable amounts of bandwidth.

Don't focus on the Venice project. They are just one
of many groups trying to figure out how to make TV
work on the Internet. Consumer ISPs need to do a better
job of communicating to their customers the existence
of GB/month bandwidth caps, the reason for the caps,
how video over IP creates problems, and how to avoid
those problems by using Video services which support
high-compression codecs. If it is DVB, MPEG-2 or MPEG-1
then it is BAD. Stay away.

Look for DIVX, MP4 etc.

Note that video caching systems like P2P networks can
potentially serve video to extremely large numbers of
users while consuming reasonably low levels of upstream
bandwidth. The key is in the caching. One copy of BBC's
Jan 8th evening news is downloaded to your local P2P
network consuming upstream bandwidth. Then local users
use local bandwidth to get copies of that broadcast over
the next few days. 

For this to work, you need P2P software whose algorithms
are geared to conserving upstream bandwidth. To date, the
software developers do not work in cooperation with ISPs 
and therefore the P2P software is not as ISP-friendly as
it could be. ISPs could change this by contacting P2P
developers. One group that is experimenting with better
algorithms is

--Michael Dillon

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