Computers & Electronics

Streaming vs. Downloading Bandwidth

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  • Mar 22nd, 2013 5:16 pm
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Nov 12, 2011
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Niagara-on-the-Lake

Streaming vs. Downloading Bandwidth

I'm not sure how to tell how much bandwidth streaming a TV show or movie takes, so I was wondering if downloading or streaming typically uses up more bandwidth and is there a way to tell before the fact?
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Streaming typically takes up less bandwidth than downloading. Mainly because it's encoded at a lower bitrate (lower quality).

If you run tomato firmware on your router, it can show total bandwidth and bandwidth used by each internal ip. Compare it to the bitrate of a downloaded mkv/mp4/avi/etc.
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Hello- wrote:
Mar 21st, 2013 12:27 pm
Streaming typically takes up less bandwidth than downloading. Mainly because it's encoded at a lower bitrate (lower quality).

If you run tomato firmware on your router, it can show total bandwidth and bandwidth used by each internal ip. Compare it to the bitrate of a downloaded mkv/mp4/avi/etc.
Cheers. Do you have any idea on the average amount of bandwidth used when streaming a 1.5 hour long movie? I understand it all depends on the bitrate, etc... but would it be a lot less than say downloading a ~700mb movie?
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Typhoonz wrote:
Mar 21st, 2013 12:43 pm
Cheers. Do you have any idea on the average amount of bandwidth used when streaming a 1.5 hour long movie? I understand it all depends on the bitrate, etc... but would it be a lot less than say downloading a ~700mb movie?
Netflix Movies (HD): These guys are around 3.8Mbit, which means it's about 3600MB for a 2 hour HD movie.
Netflix Movies (SD): Each of these movies are around 500-700MB each, depending on the length of the movie.
Netflix TV Shows (HD): A 30-minute TV show will be about 1500MB.
Netflix TV Shows (SD): A 30-minute TV show will be about 400MB.

So looks like you're almost one-to-one on streaming vs. downloading, maybe slightly better on streaming side. Say, 2-hr HD movie downloaded is between 3.5 and 7GB, so streaming is 3.6GB. For SD, downloaded movie is between 700MB (CD size)) and 4GB (DVD size), SD streaing is 500-700MB.
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Dec 22, 2006
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(700MB * 2^10 * 8) / (1.5hrs * 360) = ~1061.93kbit (Audio & Video)

http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/a ... er=1722171
Assuming the video is xvid with a resolution of 640×360, that makes it 360p, 16:9. It's about on par with what youtube outputs at 360p. 1,000 + 128 kbit = 1,128 kbit. Those youtube estimates are on the high end, they're usually lower.

Here's the question though. Will you watch it a second time or rewind and fast forward multiple times? Download only occurs once, streaming cache can be scrubbed and redownloaded many times.
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Your calculations above are a bit suspect. You might want to check those numbers (e.g., 360 seconds in an hour?)

In any case, the amount of compression used can make quite a bit of difference. In the case of Netflix, for example, it's not enough just to specify HD or SD. Netflix offers both 1080p and 720p HD, and at two different compression levels that differ by about 2x the bit rate.

The short answer is that there is no real difference between downloading and streaming, given that streaming is downloading. Either may use high resolution/low compression/high quality at a high bit rate, or low resolution/high compression/low quality for a low bit rate, or any compromise in between. It's true that streaming is often biased toward the latter because of the need to keep up in real time, but not necessarily.
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Dec 22, 2006
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You're right, it's off. 1061 is right
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Dec 22, 2006
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I'd like to know if netflix superhd can match the bitrate of an 8gb mkv.
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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Thanks guys :) .
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Vaughan
Based on same video quality, streaming vs downloading should be exactly the same.
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Oct 19, 2009
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Markham
Personally I've been downloading and watching 1080p video (twitch.tv mainly) and feel as if the streams eat up my bandwidth so much quicker as most of the downloading I am doing is 720p meaning lower mb files.

I guess it really depends on your specific situation.
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are you guys talking about bandwidth or data?
isn't bandwidth like the amount of room you have to download things at the same time and if you use too much bandwidth doing one thing it will slow down your ability to download other stuff at same time?
Poor Grammar and being long winded don't fit well together, Oh well.
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I don't know the quality of Netflix but you can easily download youtube streams and that'll show you exactly how big those streamed files are..
ShadowVlican
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Keas wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2013 1:18 pm
are you guys talking about bandwidth or data?
isn't bandwidth like the amount of room you have to download things at the same time and if you use too much bandwidth doing one thing it will slow down your ability to download other stuff at same time?
Yes, you're correct. Bandwidth is the size of your pipe so to speak, not the aggregated data transferred.

However, the terms are used interchangeably in common parlance, so there's no point in even trying to correct people's usage.
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0xffff wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2013 2:50 pm
Yes, you're correct. Bandwidth is the size of your pipe so to speak, not the aggregated data transferred.

However, the terms are used interchangeably in common parlance, so there's no point in even trying to correct people's usage.
Blame the webhosting industry :( . Having worked in that it's got me all confused!
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