NBC to provide live stream for all events at Olympics.
We have never really had a high volume stress test of what the Internet can handle in terms of streaming video. Sure, there are large volumes of people who watch YouTube, there favorite show or a movie via the Internet. But these are spread out over time and there has never been a concentrated request for streaming video that can test the unknown bounds of what the Internet is cable of handling. That is until this week when the Olympics kicks off.
The Olympics are going to be live streaming all 302 events in all 32 sports over the Internet. If ever there was going to be some stress test of the limits of what the Internet can carry, this will be it. It is going to be the first time that all of the Olympic coverage will be available live. That means you can watch it on your smart phone, your tablet or your computer. And as much as you can possibly handle as it will all be available live.
This will be unprecedented in the sheer volume of video being streamed around the world in a 2 week period. And it will surely be the single test of exactly how much video can be handled at one time. Around the world, there could well be 14 hours of streaming content from the Olympics. It will be that number here in the US in TV’s, computers, tablets and smart phones. And it is the Internet connections which are to be tested.
It does appear that the wireless carriers here in the US saw this coming a while back even though NBC recently announced they would be providing all the live coverage via their “NBC Olympics Application” which will operate on iOS devices and Android mobile devices. And that is going to place a burden on wireless carriers, especially here in the US. And you wondered why the US wireless carriers have been changing their data plans for the past several years to eliminate unlimited data.
Over the past 2 years, they have been slowly making changes to cut back on the amount of wireless data traffic you can consume from your wireless carrier. The wireless carriers knew that at some point, video streaming of live events was going to take off. They got an idea from back at the Winter Olympics where they streamed over 400 hours of the events live on NBC. With the summer Olympics, they are going to be live streaming over 4500 hours of live video feeds to watch.
Much has changed since the winter Olympics and there are a whole lot more mobile devices in the hands of people. More smart phones and far more tablets than 2 years ago and with many more devices, there are many more to consume the live feeds over wireless connections. And the wireless carriers have thought through what it might mean to them if they did not try and throttle back some of the extremely high volumes of data.
The one way to accomplish that was to significantly reduce what people can normally get. Then when the Olympics comes alone, you are less likely to consume high volumes of data watching the Olympics. And if you are willing to do that, they are going to get you with the overage fees for exceeding your plan. They were pretty smart.
For Internet providers, they are going to see an increase in the amount of traffic to a much higher degree. For Comcast customers using the Internet to watch the Olympics, there may be issues with much higher traffic. I have seen some issues with things hanging up periodically over past few weeks where throughput does degrade. I am hoping that was because Comcast was making preparations for better throughput starting on Friday.
All the Internet providers are going to be experiencing much higher volumes of traffic for the next few weeks. And this can be considered a test for handling higher capacity along with delivering consistent video streams. There has been talk for years about changes for content viewing from traditional subscription TV to now getting it over the Internet.
The Olympic streaming over the Internet may launch a new way of getting programming in the future.