Netflix Is Eating Up More Of North America's Bandwidth Than Any Other Company

Steven Bellovin smb at
Wed May 25 02:48:57 UTC 2011

It was TBS, in the 1980s:

It used TBS because that was one of the first "superstations", distributed 
to cable systems nationwide via satellite.

On May 24, 2011, at 8:12 31PM, Max wrote:

> Was PBS one of the companies you are referring to?  A colleague of
> mine worked as a developer on a project at PBS in the 90s that used
> the blanking interval for Internet transmissio - very cool stuff.
> On 5/19/11, Robert Bonomi <bonomi at> wrote:
>>> From at  Wed May 18 16:12:17
>>> 2011
>>> Date: Wed, 18 May 2011 14:53:10 -0600
>>> From: Brielle Bruns <bruns at>
>>> To: nanog at
>>> Subject: Re: Netflix Is Eating Up More Of North America's Bandwidth Than
>>> Any
>>> 	Other Company
>>> On 5/18/11 2:33 PM, Dorn Hetzel wrote:
>>>> If we're really talking efficiency, the "popular" stuff should probably
>>>> stream out over the bird of your choice (directv, etc) because it's
>>>> hard to beat millions of dishes and dvr's and no cable plant.
>>>> Then what won't fit on the bird goes unicast IP from the nearest CDN.
>>>> Kind of like the "on demand over broadband" on my satellite box.  Their
>>>> selection sucks, but the model is valid.
>>> If someone hadn't mentioned already, there used to be a usenet provider
>>> that delivered a full feed via Satellite.
>> There were, at different times, two companies that did that.  Both went
>> under because expenses exceeded income.
>> The one that was _much_ more interesting was the one that Lauren Weinstein
>> had a hand in.  It piggy-backed a Usenet feed in the vertical blanking
>> interval of several big "independant" TV stations -- ones that were
>> carried by practically every cable company in the country.  Distribution
>> to the cable companies was via satellite, but the USENET feed, being
>> _part_ of the video signal, consumed _zero_ additional bandwidth, and
>> rode the satellite links for free.
>> To get the feed, all you needed was a TV tuner with 'video out', and the
>> purpose-huilt decoder box that extracted the vertical interval data.
>> This service died as the independants moved to encrypted transmission,
>> because the encryption did _not_ perserve anything in the 'blanking'
>> timeslot. only the 'viewable' field-image was trasmitted, _as_ a full-field
>> image.  Sync, blanking, etc. was _locally_ generated on the receiving end.
>> An "elegant" idea, done in by changing technology.   *sigh*

		--Steve Bellovin,

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