The scale of streaming video on the Internet.

Neil Harris neil at
Fri Dec 3 08:16:17 CST 2010

On 02/12/10 20:21, Leo Bicknell wrote:
> Comcast has around ~15 million high speed Internet subscribers (based on
> year old data, I'm sure it is higher), which means at peak usage around
> 0.3% of all Comcast high speed users would be watching.
> That's an interesting number, but let's run back the other way.
> Consider what happens if folks cut the cord, and watch Internet
> only TV.  I went and found some TV ratings:
> Sunday Night Football at the top last week, with 7.1% of US homes
> watching.  That's over 23 times as many folks watching as the 0.3% in
> our previous math!  Ok, 23 times 150Gbps.
> 3.45Tb/s.
> Yowzer.  That's a lot of data.  345 10GE ports for a SINGLE TV show.
> But that's 7.1% of homes, so scale up to 100% of homes and you get
> 48Tb/sec, that's right 4830 simultaneous 10GE's if all of Comcast's
> existing high speed subs dropped cable and watched the same shows over
> the Internet.
> I think we all know that streaming video is large.  Putting the real
> numbers to it shows the real engineering challenges on both sides,
> generating and sinking the content, and why comapnies are fighting so
> much over it.

You might be interested in the EU-funded P2P-NEXT research initiative, 
which is creating a P2P system capable of handling P2P broadcasting at 
massive scale:

-- Neil

(full disclosure: I'm associated with one of the participants in the 

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