68% Of US Consumer Internet Connections Are Not Ready For HD Video

StreamingMedia.com carried an article last week on the poor performance of the majority (68%) of US consumers broadband connections were not meeting the definition of true broadband speed (4Mbps down, 1Mbps up).  The article was based on a US FCC (Federal Communications Commission) report from 2009.

Tim Siglin, the author of the article extrapolated from this report (correctly in my view) that the disparity between the speed required for some recent developments in the consumer market could be problematic for web based TV and streaming services as not enough consumers will be able to use them:

We’ve conjectured that this lack of true broadband could spell trouble for devices like the Apple TV with its HD streaming-only approach, and it does appear that this new FCC report corroborates recent news reports of a high number of customers having trouble maintaining their connections throughout the course of a long-form movie. The reported speeds-while proving that advertised rates were much higher than reality-are still suspect as being a bit higher than reality, a trend that will continue until true broadband comes to the majority of Americans.” [Read More]

The US has recently switched over to HD as the standard for video production, however, what is increasingly clear is that the telecommunications infrastructure which online delivery depends upon is still not adequate to support it.  The situation is similar in the UK and much of Europe also.

Since consumer take-up of technologies often determines whether they become commodity items (and therefore cheap enough to be a justifiable proposition for common business use also) this suggests that HD video in DAM systems may not yet be practical for real-world use in 2011.  If you are planning to roll out HD based Video DAM or propose it to customers next year, it may be worth checking how well the reality measures up against the hype and manage expectations accordingly.

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