Video is set to explode across the Internet – in more ways than one. And not just because video-blogging and citizen news is filling tool like YouTube with more content than ever – device convergence is changing how we use the Internet.
Think back just a couple of years. You browsed the web on your PC and video was strictly limited to watching some shaky footage on YouTube. Then tools like the BBC iPlayer were launched and suddenly catch-up TV became possible and easy.
Now services like NetFlix, LoveFilm, Virgin Media, and Amazon are streaming movies on demand, allowing viewers to completely bypass the DVD rental store and just view any movie at any time.
Go to buy a new TV today and it is almost certainly Internet-ready. You can immediately hook up the TV to your home router and watch video on the TV, rather than needing to view the iPlayer on a laptop computer, and even the computing devices themselves have changed – the iPad is a far more video-friendly device than your old desktop ever was.
But can the Internet cope with all this extra traffic? Companies that build the underlying networks – such as Cisco – are warning that we cannot keep expecting Internet download speeds to increase as we are consuming exponentially more data. It is not possible.
Our consumption habits are changing and we expect more data for lower charges, but as video takes over, will the Internet itself have the capacity we need – or will data consumption soon come at a higher price?
Photo by Andrei Zmievski licensed under Creative Commons