Friday, February 3, 2012

The Cost Of Streaming

Let's face it, we are becoming data hogs. With our tablets, e-readers, smartphones and laptops, we are consuming more and more data. Cell phone companies want to charge us more for our exceeding our monthly use and broadband companies would like to charge us like a utility. The buffet may soon end as our streaming habits grow and each piece of content requires more data in it. This is especially true with video and the move toward streaming HD content.

There are a number of solutions. We could reduce our usage although that seems unlikely, especially as more connected devices are being manufactured and bought. The cell companies want us to use WIFI as much as possible to avoid their caps and usage bills. A short term fix but eventually even free WIFI may one day come to an end. Or rely on more innovation to make our streaming and downloading less bulky and more efficient.

Netflix is doing just that and I wouldn't be surprised to see more companies join in. "The movie and TV show streaming company is the first client of Palo Alto-based start-up eyeIO, a maker of a video encoding system it claims reduces the bandwidth needs of Netflix streams by more than 50 percent without sacrificing picture and sound quality." That is a significant improvement for the moment but in a few short years, as users and usage doubles, a quantum leap must occur to vastly improve streaming efficiency. For the moment eyeIO seems the company to bet on for a better streaming experience and lower broadband costs.

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