Delivering HDTV to Typical Household Entirely Over-the-Top: About 600 Gigabytes Per Month

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If you delivered all the HD video viewed in a typical TV household over an IP-based infrastructure, usage would skyrocket more than 15-fold from today’s average to about 600 Gigabytes per month, according to Morgan Stanley estimates.

And for the top quintile of super-heavy viewers, 100% HDTV-over-IP would push the total up past 1.4 Terabytes per month, according to the firm in a report released last week, “Next Up in the Evolution of Media: The Connected TV.” That’s assuming all video content consumed in a home (8 hours of video per day) is delivered over IP.

In short: definitely a usage-cap buster, at least given today’s levels. For example, Comcast’s allowance is 250 Gigabytes per month, while AT&T’s caps are set at 150 GB for traditional DSL and 250 GB for U-verse Internet (see Will Broadband-Usage Surcharges ‘Stifle the Internet’?).

The bottom line is that none of the broadband access networks were engineered to absorb this much per-subscriber usage. You can’t efficiently move 18 lanes of traffic down a four-lane highway.

Well before we get to the all-TV-over-the-Internet stage, ISPs will have to move to bandwidth caps and overage fees — and possibly time-of-day pricing as well — to control the surge (see Netflix Represents Nearly 30% Of Peak Downstream Internet Traffic: Study).

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Programming Note: Join execs from ESPN, Samsung, TiVo, HBO, Warner Home Video, CEA, Nielsen and Rovi at the Connected TV & 3D: Supplying the Demand conference in New York on Tuesday, May 24. Click here for more info: www.multichannel.com/connectedtv.

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