Video Streaming Bandwidth

Quite frequently I get a lot of questions about the cost of bandwidth when operating a video streaming or encrypted video streaming platform. It is no secret I believe that encrypted video streaming services will certainly be more resource intensive (CPU, Memory and Disk Speed etc) because of the encryption and decryption which goes on the fly in real time when video streaming or streaming music that is in encrypted form over the internet. But when it comes to bandwidth consumption, how much does streaming sites consume? Is it possible to determine, how much bandwidth will it use when watching that TV show series, whether from your mobile device or on a desktop computer.

In reality the answer to the question can vary in complexity , it can be determined by using either complex equation or using a really simple methodology. But unfortunately the answer will vary based on the size of the video you are watching and the quality, encrypted or non-encrypted really doesn’t affect bandwidth consumed on the end users side. So lets take things in its most elemental form.

Before we get into things, there is a common misconception which must be disavowed, because many people think that because they are streaming and not downloading, that the bandwidth consumption is somehow less, or non-existent. For SD (standard definition) videos say is 100mb in size and duration is 30mins, and HD(high definition) is 300mb and is 60mins long. If the video size is consumed in SD in its entirety then the bandwidth used on the end-users size is exactly the size of the video streamed and if it is in HD then the bandwidth used by the user is 300mb .For the streaming host it is calculated the same but it is multiplied by how many times the video is watched by different users or even the same user.

This calculation can be repeated for any number of videos or music which is indicated as being streamed by the number of times they have been played by the end users and then calculate that for each day and then multiply it all together for all the days of the month to determine the monthly consumption for your streaming video host. Ofcourse there are many variables to take into account, for example , some hosts only record unique video streams, so even thought, one ip address may stream the content multiple times, it wont be recorded, so you wont get a true representation of how much bandwidth is actually being consumed. You can also get complicated, because some come host use caching servers in front of their CDN(content delivery network) and so streams may not be counted because the server isnt being hit up for request for service, because the caching server may just answer, and offer up the content requested. So unless there is some sort of bandwidth monitoring application, then complex infrastructure setups such as this would be difficult to determine how much bandwidth is being consumed.

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