How Video Streaming Affects Your Internet Bill

By 2019, experts predict that video streaming will account for 80% of all Internet traffic.

Many television networks—such as CBS, NBC, and ABC—are now offering online streaming services that permit their viewers to watch live and view the shows for a time after they aired on television. This has particular appeal to those with busy lives, should they be unable to sit down at the exact time the television show is due to air. With the increasing dependence on the Internet, these streaming services are gaining precedence over other options, recording television shows with a DVR like TiVo, for watching television after it airs.

Streaming services such as Google Play, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime Instant Video appeal to individuals for a variety of different reasons. Similar to the online streaming services that networks offer, these services permit individuals to view their chosen shows and movies whenever they choose. Furthermore, Netflix currently offers original programming that is unavailable elsewhere. Popular examples are Orange is the New Black, Daredevil, and House of Cards. These services also allow fewer commercials, or even no commercials, which is an extremely attractive factor for many individuals.

What does this mean for your Internet connection and your mobile data usage? What impact will streaming have on your monthly service bill?

How Much Bandwidth Does Streaming Use?

When you stream a video on the Internet, it has a significant impact on the overall data limits that Internet and cellphone service providers impose in their offered contracts. The specific amount of data that streaming a video varies based on a few elements. Specifically, it involves the length of the video as well as its quality, both of which determine the file size.

For example, the average hour-long television show—40 to 43 minutes without commercials—at standard quality is approximately 400 megabytes. If this same television show streamed at an HD quality, it would be around 700 megabytes. If you watch the show at standard quality for three episodes, you are looking at 1.2 gigabytes of data, as it takes 1000 megabytes per gigabyte. 1.2 gigabytes is the common file size of movies at standard quality.

Even if you have an Internet connection with a higher limit, such as 300 gigabytes each month, other uses for the Internet (social media, email, et cetera) require a portion of your data. This means that you still need to limit the amount of movies and television shows that you watch in order to ensure a sufficient amount of leftover data for the month.

If you wish to stream but want to conserve your data usage, be sure to check the video quality that Netflix and other streaming services offer. Most streaming services, including those that television networks offer on their websites, will automatically play their shows at HD quality. This means that you are increasing your data usage at a faster rate than if you were only streaming at a standard quality or not streaming at all.

Growing Demand for Data

Video streaming on the Internet is increasing. As of last year, streaming accounted for 64% of all Internet traffic, and many expect video streaming to increase to 80% of all Internet by 2019. Additionally, many video streaming services are increasing their video quality. The result of this is a higher amount of data for each video.

Mobile data usage is also on the rise, once again fueled by the increase in video streaming. A Gartner report indicates that the 2015 growth of total cellular data usage will be 59%. At present, video streaming accounts for 50% of total data usage on cellphones and reports predict this will rise to 60% by 2018.

Despite the increasing demand for data on both home Internet connections and smartphones, service providers are not creating better deals on their Internet and data packages. In other words, the only way to receive a high data allowance is to sign an expensive contract and upgrade your current package. Many have claimed that mobile data and Internet services in general are expensive for the service providers. However, these claims are not wholly true. Mobile data and Internet do cost the service providers some money, but they are nowhere close to the prices they charge those who sign for their service.

The Takeaway

The Internet has long since become a necessity in the everyday life of millions of individuals. That is no secret. Not only is overall Internet and mobile data usage on the rise, but so is the amount dedicated to video streaming. Unfortunately, video streaming is also one of the quickest ways in which an individual can use up their monthly data allowance, as the files are larger than almost every website currently online. This means that as users increase the amount of video that they stream, they will require more data for their Internet and mobile contracts.

Depending on how close their previous data usage was to their limit, some individuals may be able to remain with their current service contracts. Despite this, many individuals will soon find themselves in need of a much higher data limit because of the increase in video streaming and the data it uses. In turn, this means they will be paying higher prices on their service bills.

Billshark can help with expensive monthly service bills. We can negotiate with your service provider on your behalf in order to lower the price. As a team of expert negotiators, we are in the perfect place to allow you to put your best foot forward in the often long and arduous negotiation process. Billshark will split the first year of savings with you after a successful negotiation process with your service provider.

Look towards saving on your monthly service bill and get in touch with Billshark today!

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