Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Biggest Problem With The Cloud And Streaming Is...

...The cost of sending and receiving content.  Perhaps it makes better sense to download and own once than to continually stream content because of the high costs to stream content.  But as more video content becomes accessible and consumers are using the cloud and web to continuously stream content to their devices, the meter keeps turning.  And with hi def devices and better displays like on the new iPad, the streams of content must send higher amounts of data.  "What many consumers may not realize is the new iPad's faster LTE connection means they will use more data even if they don't change their 3G surfing habits. Take regular video: Verizon estimates that streaming it over an LTE connection runs through 650 megabytes an hour. That's double the amount of data used streaming the same video over a 3G link, because the fatter pipe lets more data through."

We have become used to an all you can eat mentality for communication; unlimited local calls, unlimited texts, one monthly price for constant cable TV access.  The TV set can stay on, even if no one is watching, because it doesn't cost any more to watch.  That doesn't happen with our electric, gas, or even water.  Turn the lights off before you leave the room.  No drips from the faucet please.  But even though streaming access isn't a utility, we are starting to think of it as one.

So on one hand, we are being encouraged to place more things on the cloud and access it when it is needed.  And we are being faced with more and more streaming content through OTT and websites serving up tons of videos.  On the other hand, the costs to physically stream this content could potentially cost us a lot more money.  WIFI speeds may be accessible through our cable providers or from free remote sites like Starbucks and elsewhere, but  they are not fast enough to enable an uninterrupted,  enjoyable experience.  Faster speeds are the benefits being touted by wireless providers.  And companies are hoping for more revenue from their mobile wireless usage packages, but consumers should be wary that the costs could potentially be way too high for their budget.

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