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What takes up less data streaming or downloading?


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17 replies to this topic

#1
Miner_Guy
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Hey, this may seem like a stupid question but what takes up more internet data streaming a TV program or downloading it, providing they are the same length, quality etc? I have an internet cap, so I would like to use up the least amount of data as possible.

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#2
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I'm not an expert or anything, but intuitively it seems like it should be the same. When you stream, you watch the data as it arrives. If you download, you just get all the data, then watch it from your computer. This Yahoo answers question seems to agree with me. But if I am mistaken, someone please let me know!
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#3
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Assuming they are the same identical file there is no difference in bandwidth.
Streaming is basically a temporary download, it allows you to watch the file live instead of waiting but it still has to download the exact same data to your system.

What is true, however, in things like TV and movie is streams tend to be lower res than downloads so they are less data but this is only due to the quality difference.

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#4
D. V. Devnull
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Miner_Guy, I hate to be the letdown, but downloading is the better option for using less bandwidth. Unless you're saving to disk and/or holding static prebuffering in ram while streaming, any reverse jumps in your watching are going to completely rebuffer from where you jumped backwards to. Every rebuffer will take up additional bandwidth that you didn't wish to use, and will ultimately add up to more bandwidth used for watching by stream than by downloading and watching after. :mellow:

Just for reference, YouTube is an insta-teacher in regard to this, and they seem bent on not letting people do full prebuffers anymore. Your mileage may end up varying with those anime sites, however. :(

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#5
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Miner_Guy, I hate to be the letdown, but downloading is the better option for using less bandwidth. Unless you're saving to disk and/or holding static prebuffering in ram while streaming, any reverse jumps in your watching are going to completely rebuffer from where you jumped backwards to. Every rebuffer will take up additional bandwidth that you didn't wish to use, and will ultimately add up to more bandwidth used for watching by stream than by downloading and watching after. :mellow:

Just for reference, YouTube is an insta-teacher in regard to this, and they seem bent on not letting people do full prebuffers anymore. Your mileage may end up varying with those anime sites, however. :(

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I've not had any trouble with pre-buffers on youtube using 'magic actions' add-on in chrome.

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#6
D. V. Devnull
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<<<snip>>>

I've not had any trouble with pre-buffers on youtube using 'magic actions' add-on in chrome.

Not everyone is going to trust or use such addons. You should double-check the site without those kind of addons enabled, so you can see exactly what I'm talking about. I don't happen to use those kind of addons myself, so I was stating it from the point of the normal user. :huh:

Also, if you're going to mention addons, you may wish to provide links to them. Further, you may wish to note whether there are versions for FireFox/Opera/Safari/IE/etc. (You get the idea...) as well as what equivalents there are. Otherwise, your information renders itself useless. :geek:

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#7
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But google makes it so easy to find for yerself and being a chrome user I don't have reason to know of it's function elsewhere; plus it is rather off-topic.

But I googled:
http://www.chromeactions.com/

Works from firefox and opera seemingly.
Very useful for pre-buffer (it auto-pauses asap and then lets it buffer) plus can auto set the res you wanna watch in and stuff

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#8
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Still with today's speeds you never really need to prebuffer. Now that I moved out of the maritme provinces (Canada) I have an internet cap as well, and it's quite low (120GB/month) but enough for me. Never had problems with youtube or any other stream site (like Netflix) that I use. Although, as a normal user, I don't need to jump back.

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#9
D. V. Devnull
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Still with today's speeds you never really need to prebuffer. Now that I moved out of the maritme provinces (Canada) I have an internet cap as well, and it's quite low (120GB/month) but enough for me. Never had problems with youtube or any other stream site (like Netflix) that I use. Although, as a normal user, I don't need to jump back.

120GB total maximum data transferred per month?!?!? :blink: ... Lucky stiff! You've either got a lot of money, or the prices up there in Canada are ridiculously low! Eeeeeennnnnnnnnvvvvvvvvvvyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!! :evil: ... Us poor USA nuts can't get data plans like what you have for any kind of a reasonable price! :angry:

On more on-topic notes, I wouldn't go around assuming people have bandwidth to spare like you do. Honestly, I don't think Miner_Guy has anywhere near that much... :geek:

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#10
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Still with today's speeds you never really need to prebuffer. Now that I moved out of the maritme provinces (Canada) I have an internet cap as well, and it's quite low (120GB/month) but enough for me. Never had problems with youtube or any other stream site (like Netflix) that I use. Although, as a normal user, I don't need to jump back.

120GB total maximum data transferred per month?!?!? :blink: ... Lucky stiff! You've either got a lot of money, or the prices up there in Canada are ridiculously low! Eeeeeennnnnnnnnvvvvvvvvvvyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!! :evil: ... Us poor USA nuts can't get data plans like what you have for any kind of a reasonable price! :angry:

On more on-topic notes, I wouldn't go around assuming people have bandwidth to spare like you do. Honestly, I don't think Miner_Guy has anywhere near that much... :geek:

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I think prices in Québec are ridiculously low. I have 20Mb/s internet and HDTV for $105/month while that's what I paid for only the internet in New Brunswick (although N-B doesn't have limits with one of the ISPs).

And you're probably right on the amount of bandwidth people have, I probably have much more than Miner_Guy. Then again the only reason I can afford to pay this much for internet/tv is because I decided to go with very small appartment where the rent is quite low compared to the other appartments around here. Like we say, cut somewhere to afford more elsewhere.

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#11
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Still with today's speeds you never really need to prebuffer. Now that I moved out of the maritme provinces (Canada) I have an internet cap as well, and it's quite low (120GB/month) but enough for me. Never had problems with youtube or any other stream site (like Netflix) that I use. Although, as a normal user, I don't need to jump back.


I would not say today's speeds are such a universal thing; for example much the UK is yet to have access to fibre optic broadband and therefore are stuck at like 10mb/s max over phone lines and your lucky if you can actually get that speed or even half of it. I certainly find the need to prebuffer youtube videos or face them random pausing when it plays faster than it loads. (Admittedly I do watch in HD wherever possible, but still)

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#12
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Still with today's speeds you never really need to prebuffer. Now that I moved out of the maritme provinces (Canada) I have an internet cap as well, and it's quite low (120GB/month) but enough for me. Never had problems with youtube or any other stream site (like Netflix) that I use. Although, as a normal user, I don't need to jump back.


I would not say today's speeds are such a universal thing; for example much the UK is yet to have access to fibre optic broadband and therefore are stuck at like 10mb/s max over phone lines and your lucky if you can actually get that speed or even half of it. I certainly find the need to prebuffer youtube videos or face them random pausing when it plays faster than it loads. (Admittedly I do watch in HD wherever possible, but still)


Thats not quite true, there is BT infinity in parts of London (not sure where else).

But yeah wow 120GB/month nice, I only have 40GB and its shared between 2-3 people, so we go over sometimes. Nightmare situation is when large patches come out for games and steam sales are that great either as I will have to wait to download the games.

Anyway as there doesnt seem to be much difference, I will just stream as it doesnt take space up on the hard drive.
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#13
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Like I said 'much of the uk is yet to have access to fibre optics' the implication being some does, but not all. Bt Infinity is BT's fibre optic package.

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#14
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I'm not on fiber. But still, you guys don't have the choice to add to the limit for a small fee? Like today I added a 20GB block for $5 (each GB that I use that's over the limit would be $2/each otherwise). If I didn't do that I would have went over my monthly limit (that ends in a week and a half). I'm still too used to the "no bandwidth limit fiber" that I had in NB. I have to lower my Netflix use, already that I have deactivated the HD on it).

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#15
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To my knowledge none of the big uk providers offer extra bandwidth, but equally most don't charge you for going over they just throttle your speeds til the end of the month; but then again most uk providers offer unlimited plans without a huge price leap from their limited ones.

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#16
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I get charged £5 for every time I go 5GB over my limit, which is a joke. Especially if I go say 6 GB over, I get charged 10 quid.

Living in rural areas is better than the city, if you arent on fibre optic as the speeds are literally up to 5x faster.
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#17
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Thought I'd throw it my 2 cents.

When you stream video live, the protocol used is likely UDP. When you download, the protocol used is TCP. The difference being is that TCP will check the integrity and the order of the data, and request erroneous packets be resent. This also has more overhead.

If you're not rewinding through the stream and watching parts over, streaming via UDP will require less bandwidth.

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#18
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Are you able to check your usage? If you can I'd suggest streaming an episode of a TV show, then download that exact same episode and see which one used up more data.

In regards to the internet cap discussion, I've never used an internet provide that caps their internet. I also recently helped my brother move into an apartment in SF and he get's 100mbps with no cap for $50 a month. It was wild, but I guess that's what you get when you have an apartment in the same neighborhood with twitter and what have you.
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