Streaming TV Will Dominate The Internet In Five Years

80 per cent of Internet traffic in 2018 will be IPTV, with nearly a million minutes of video being consumed every second. Add on peer-to-peer file sharing and video on demand services, according to Cisco, and up to 90 per cent of everything going on on the Internet will be some form of online video.

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This data comes from the most recent iteration of Cisco's Visual Networking Index. As part of global Internet traffic tripling between 2013 and 2018, and a global tripling of Internet speeds, the index presents some real-world suggestions to show just how much traffic IPTV will consume:

  • By 2018, the gigabyte equivalent of all movies ever made will cross the global Internet every 3 minutes.
  • Globally, IP traffic will reach 400 terabits per second (Tbps) in 2018, the equivalent of 148 million people streaming Internet HD video simultaneously, all day, every day.
  • Global IP traffic in 2018 will be equivalent to 395 billion DVDs per year, 33 billion DVDs per month, or 45 million DVDs per hour.

Interestingly, Cisco also believes that in under five years, almost a quarter of televisions connected to the Internet will be Ultra HD — a big jump from the 0.4 per cent of last year's statistics. It's these 4K TVs that will be driving a big jump in IPTV traffic, since Ultra HD content consumes at least twice the bandwidth of the HD and Full HD video which is currently commonplace with Internet streaming services.

High-def video will still dominate bandwidth consumed, but UHD will grow faster and SD video is on a downward spiral from 2014 onwards — begone, 240p YouTube videos.

If you're looking for a broad forecast of what's going to happen with technology and the Internet in the next half-decade, the Visual Networking Index has some more fascinating projections. The Internet of Things and machine-to-machine network growth will be slow but steady — this covers devices like smart appliances, Web-connected home electricity meters, and Internet-connected cars — with 7.3 million connections expected up from 2.9 million this year.

Cisco thinks streaming video and widespread consumer cloud storage — services like Dropbox and OneDrive and Google Drive — will be a big force in increasing Internet connection speeds around the world. With average worldwide broadband speeds sitting at roughly 16.1Mbps in 2014, and Australia's Asia Pacific region higher than average at 18Mbps thanks to the influence of fibre-connected countries like Japan and South Korea, 2018 will see global 'net speeds bumped to 36.7Mbps and Asia Pacific speeds sitting on 42.5Mbps.

Australia's less-than-likely fibre to the home future seems to be taken into account for the VNI stats; the breakdown of connections in the Asia Pacific region, with only 2 per cent currently able to access speeds over 100Mbps in 2013, will only rise to 4 per cent accessing over 100Mbps in 2018. [Cisco]

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