90% Of Web Traffic Is Video

There’s a lot of talk about the prediction from YouTube’s Robert Kyncl that video will be 90% of internet traffic. This sounds shocking until you realize it’s not, and doesn’t really mean much in context of the internet.

This number presumably is at least partially based on a prediction by Cisco who makes routers that carry that internet traffic. They even bought Flip (an unfortunate tale) simply to help drive video on the internet and presumably drive up the need for routers, their main business. They might have a bias.

The reality is video already is, and will continue to be the vast majority of Internet traffic. However that doesn’t mean people are spending as much time on it as the numbers will make you believe. Video per minute of online activity is just insanely high bandwidth and expensive. The percentage of bandwidth is meaningless, what matters is where people spend their time.

Video compresses very poorly in comparison to text and audio (interestingly, speech compresses fairly well these days). Video these days either streaming or progressive download is still a very bandwidth intensive activity.

This webpage is likely under 160 KB for you and loads in about 300 ms. You’ll spend statistically a few minutes reading this, perhaps slightly less if you just skim for the numbers. The takeaway is experiencing: this blog post is about 160 KB over a few minutes assuming you visit the site, and don’t use an RSS reader (go ahead RSS users, try it).

Now lets figure out what video is typically. Most web video these days is still H.264, and generally 640×480 (480p) or 1280×720 (720p). Most laptops today are pretty cheap and just can’t handle 1080p, certainly their displays aren’t good enough to show a measurable difference, not to mention the buffering time annoys people, so we’ll ignore it’s existence.

I want to make this a little realistic, so to figure out a bitrate, we’ll use the standard formula for what Adobe calls ‘ideal’ in the H.264 Primer, and what most seem to use these days:

[image width] x [image height] x [framerate] x [motion rank] x 0.07 = [desired bitrate]

For 1280×720 that means:

1280 x 720 x 24 x 2 x 0.07 = 3,096,576 bps = ~3000 kbps

And for 640×480:

640 x 480 x 24 x 2 x 0.07 = 1,032,192 bps = ~1000 kbps

This sounds about right. As of today, Wikipedia lists the bandwidth range for 720p at 2–2.9 Mbit/sec and for 480p at 0.8–1 Mbit/sec. So we know we’re on track.

That’s all the math we really need to do. Google can do the conversions for us:

For 720p:

3000 kbps = 1,318.35938 Megabytes / hour = 22 MB / min

For 480p:

1000 kbps = 439.453125 Megabytes / hour  = 7.3 MB / min

Going back to the example of this blog permalink, at 160 KB for a few minutes of reading vs. 7,475 KB for one minute of 480p video. That is why video is 90% of traffic.

Video growth is huge, but it’s not nearly as one sided as the stats will lead you to believe.

Girl With A Funny Talent

Girl With A Funny Talent

One of the more recent internet sensations I just haven’t found the time to post. A follow-up video here. Even a Facebook page to request songs (according to the follow-up video). Credit where it’s due, she’s taken a silly talent to a viral sensation and managed to package it up into a YouTube account and successful Facebook page. Not bad for a kid.

Editors Note: This was surprisingly hard to screen grab in any way that demonstrated her “talent” and didn’t look so bad that even I wouldn’t feel right publishing it.

5 Year Old Needs A Job Before Getting Married

5 year old needs a job before getting married

Here is today’s cute/amusing video.

I have a small suspicion her mother or father planted the seed in her head. Also amusing is the follow up video where she professes her admiration for Seinfeld, the desire to write jokes, despite the fact that “nobody laughs at me” and the need “for someone to tweet me”.

I’d like to see the follow up in 15 years.

It’s done several hundred thousand views in the past 24hrs. I think it’s viral now.

Atomic Tom’s “Take Me Out” Subway Video

Atomic Tom - Take Me Out

Here’s an interesting video that went viral over the past few days. Brooklyn based band Atomic Tom’s instruments allegedly were stolen. Their resolve led them to use their iPhones and film a music video on the subway using their phones as instruments. Or so the story goes. I’m not sure if it’s a viral sensation or viral marketing.

I’m a bit skeptical about this one. They claim it was one take, multiple cameras were present, iPhones were the sole instruments used. I don’t have the time to analyze it close enough, but the sound is a little questionable. The thing that really gets me is the quality of the vocal track. While you can hear some ambient subway noise in the background it’s hard to imagine the phone picking everyone up so clearly when they are all singing given the position of the microphone and pick up so little subway noise otherwise. The iPhone does try to reduce ambient noise as much as possible, but this just seems to be beyond what it would do. Of course they could have done a little post-production work there. They don’t really say what post-production entailed.

Playing an iPhone instrument for the length of a song especially given their performance also seems a bit difficult. All four not messing up would be impressive, especially on a moving train.

Regardless, this little viral marketing seems to be working. Over the weekend it’s views were still in the thousands. It’s clearly on the way to the 2 million mark as of this blog post.

At least one of the apps used is iShred: Guitar + Effects, which is pretty cool.

Sexing Up Your Towwwwwnnnn

Sex Robot

This has internet meme written all over it. It might be the first time a YouTube comment provides some relevant context:

The first viewing, you wonder “what the hell”. Second viewing, you’re thinking “this is kinda funny”. Viewings 3-10, you know now this is hilarious. After 15-25 viewings, you wonder if you have a problem. 26-49 makes you appreciate the sociological undertones of Sex Robot. 50+ viewings and you recognize it as your new God.

Warning: It may get stuck in your head.

YouTube HTML5 + Firefox

Google has been a long time supporter of HTML5. They recently launched a HTML5 beta of YouTube however it will only work in Safari and Chrome. The reason for this is not due to the actual markup but the video codec chosen. YouTube is using h.264, the same codec used for YouTube HD via Flash. This works in Safari and Chrome because Safari uses QuickTime to render <video/> and Google licensed h.264 for Chrome. Firefox however doesn’t include the proprietary codec for licensing reasons. It’s not a matter of cost but principle.

IE is supported through “Chrome Frame” which is essentially the Chrome browser in IE’s chrome. Your really just browsing the YouTube site with Chrome. Google could use this as a way to get people away from Flash and IE and onto Chrome one way or another.

I discussed the h.264 debate in more depth a few months ago.

You have to wonder why we don’t want anything proprietary slipping into HTML5, or want proprietary image formats (GIF turned us off to that) but exceptions are made for video.

Edit 1/23/2010: More on the topic:

Edit 5/21/2010: Thoughts on WebM.

Google Goes HTML5

I just noticed that Google is now serving it’s homepage with an HTML5 doctype:

< !doctype html>

I suspect this might have changed when they launched that new fade effect. I also noticed they are doing so when using the new YouTube “Feather” beta. This shouldn’t be too surprising considering their involvement in the HTML5 specs and developing a web browser and announcing it’s moving away from Google Gears.

Of course the pages don’t validate, and don’t really take advantage of much HTML5 features (that I’ve seen at least). But it’s a step in the right direction. With modern browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Safari becoming more popular it’s slowly becoming a reality.