Streaming video is having a bit of a moment.
Google’s new low-cost Chromecast TV dongle, which allows users to stream video or play music from their devices on a TV via Wi-Fi, created such a frenzy that Amazon.com and BestBuy.com sold out of their inventory within 24 hours of the product’s announcement last week.
Netflix original series’ “House of Cards” and “Arrested Development” created the new phenomenon of “binge viewing” this summer, with “House of Cards” becoming the first show delivered online to be nominated for an Emmy, a feat the chief content officer of Netflix called “as much a win for Internet television as it is for the content creators.”
Even fifteen seconds of video can make a big impact. Avvasi, a mobile video wireless infrastructure service provider, found that within weeks of the launch of video on Instagram, the bite-sized video service accounted for 30% of OTT video, surpassing both YouTube and Vine for mobile video traffic. The study also found that “the service launch negatively impacted the overall quality of video delivered, due to the sudden increase in traffic and network congestion.”
With video content instantly available on mobile devices via services like Hulu Plus, HBO Go and DISH Hopper, among many others, people can keep up with their favorite shows whether they’re in-flight, holed up in a hotel on business, or waiting for a train.
Savvy streamers will turn to Wi-Fi for better video performance and to keep their cellular data charges in check. But will the Wi-Fi networks that deliver this binge-worthy content keep up?
Cisco estimates that consumer Internet video traffic will account for more than 69% of all Internet traffic by 2017. Airlines are working to offer more domestic and international flights with Wi-Fi to deliver the entertainment and productivity that travelers demand. And many hotels are helping to offset the costs of Wi-Fi network upgrades via Wi-Fi and digital in-room advertising.
With must-see TV becoming must-stream TV, venue operators will need to be vigilant in upgrading their networks to provide adequate bandwidth for their video sharing-and-surfing customers.