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

Gian Constantine constantinegi at
Mon Jan 8 03:17:42 UTC 2007

I may have missed it in previous posts, but I think an important  
point is being missed in much of this discussion: take rate.

An assumption being made is one of widespread long time usage. I  
would argue consumers have little interest in viewing content for  
more than a few hundred seconds on their PC. Further, existing  
solutions for media extension to the television are gaining very  
little foothold outside of technophiles. They tend to be more complex  
for the average user than many vendors seemingly realize. While Apple  
may help in this arena, there are many other obstacles to widespread  
usage of streaming video outside of media extension.

In entertainment, content is king. More specifically, new release  
content is king. While internet distribution may help breathe life  
into the long tail market, it is hard to imagine any major shift from  
existing distribution methods. People simply like the latest TV shows  
and the latest movies.

So, this leaves us with little more than what is already offered by  
the MSOs: linear TV and VoD. This is where things become complex.

The studios will never (not any time soon) allow for a subscription  
based VoD on new content. They would instantly be sued by Time Warner  
(HBO). This leaves us with a non-subscription VoD option, which still  
requires an agreement with the each of the major studios, and would  
likely cost a fortune to obtain. CinemaNow and MovieLink have done  
this successfully, and use a PushVoD model to distribute their  
content. CinemaNow allows DVD burning for some of their content, but  
both companies are otherwise tied to the PC (without a media  
extender). Furthermore, the download wait is a pain. Their content is  
good quality 1200-1500 kbps VC-1 *wince*. It is really hard to say  
when and if either of these will take off as a service. It is a good  
service, with a great product, and almost no market at the moment.  
Get it on the TV and things may change dramatically.

This leaves us with linear TV, which is another acquisition  
nightmare. It is very difficult to acquire pass-through/distribution  
rights for linear television, especially via IP. Without deep  
pockets, a company might be spinning their wheels trying to get  
popular channels onto their lineup. And good luck trying to acquire  
the rights to push linear TV outside of a closed network. The studios  
will hear none of it.

I guess where I am going with all this is simply it is very hard to  
make this work from a business and marketing side. The network  
constraints are, likely, a minor issue for some time to come.  
Interest is low in the public at large for primary (or even major  
secondary) video service on the PC.

By the time interest in the product swells and content providers ease  
some of their more stringent rules for content distribution, a better  
solution for multicasting the content will have presented itself. I  
would argue streaming video across the Internet to a large audience,  
direct to subscribers, is probably 4+ years away at best.

I am not saying we throw in the towel on this problem, but I do think  
unicast streaming has a limited scope and short life-span for prime  
content. IPv6 multicast is the real long term solution for Internet  
video to a wide audience.

Of course, there is the other argument. The ILECs and MSOs will keep  
it from ever getting beyond a unicast model. Why let the competition  
in, right? *sniff* I smell lobbyists and legislation. :-)

Gian Anthony Constantine
Senior Network Design Engineer
Earthlink, Inc.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the NANOG mailing list