YouTube vs. TV & Cable: Who's Winning the War? - AVS Forum
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently declared victory in the battle against conventional television. At a recent press event in New York City, Schmidt bluntly stated that Internet video has already surpassed television in overall popularity. He touted the fact that YouTube passed the 1-billion-views-per-month milestone. Declaring "the future is now," the Google chief noted that once the Third World gets online, that number could increase to 6 or 7 billion views per month.

 

 

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"I thought that YouTube was like TV, but it isn't. I was wrong," said Robert Kyncl, YouTube's global head of content. "TV is one-way. YouTube talks back."Associated Press

 

Certainly, the appeal of YouTube is attributable to availability; the fact that quality can be variable becomes a nonissue when viewing video on a phone. At the same time, YouTube is one of the few services that already supports 4K streaming video—making it a pioneer in high-quality content delivery as well as low-bandwidth distribution. YouTube is casting a very broad net.

 

There is some question as to how much of YouTube's victory comes at the expense of television versus other media. The variability in quality of YouTube content comes from both the source and the delivery method. An Internet connection with insufficient bandwidth will simply not support high-definition video. As YouTube proceeds with its expansion, including the addition of dedicated channels, it will be crucial that the user experience remain as fast and friendly as possible. That means issues plaguing streaming video must be addressed.

 

In order for YouTube to compete with cable television, consumers need to experience high-quality video that is available instantaneously. Recent data suggest that a wait time as short as two seconds can adversely impact viewership—the longer the wait, the greater the likelihood a video will be abandoned for another option. In essence, online viewers are like cable-television viewers with a remote control. If they don't like what they see, they change the channel almost instantly.

 

Which brings us to the hard data—and by hard, perhaps I mean hard to swallow—regarding the current state of broadband and streaming. A recent article published by streamingmedia.com claims that streaming quality is a major impediment to YouTube overtaking cable TV.

 

Citing data from Conviva, a company specializing in video-stream optimization, the article highlights this fact: Over 60% of all streams suffer some quality defect—typically delays caused by buffering or a decrease in resolution caused by limited bandwidth. Furthermore, buffering delays can result in a stream's abandonment.

 

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"Cable TV is still able to deliver a better quality user experience, nearly every time, over Internet video. You may not like the price you have to pay for cable TV, but the technology still surpasses Internet video because it works, it’s easy to use and you know what HD means. On the web, anything goes and you never know what you will get, as Conviva’s data proves." – streamingmedia.com

 

Conviva's data shows that an awful lot of streams never play at all—there were 900 million failed streams in 2012. On the other hand, if the stream does play, the chances are very high that the experience will not be as reliable or high quality as cable TV. Streaming content rarely displays at HD resolutions, except under ideal circumstances with a powerful computer and a good Internet connection. Even at standard definition, reliability during long, live streaming events was rather low. In one example cited by the article, 12% of a 90-minute live-streamed event wound up being unwatchable due to buffering issues.

 

There is a flipside to all the negatives associated with streaming. When the connection is good, and the bandwidth is adequate, then viewership of online streaming content increases dramatically. There appears to be a solid correlation between a good Internet connection and consumer comfort with using YouTube (and other streaming providers) as a source of entertainment. Conviva highlighted some of the benefits of having a good connection:

 

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  • The start time for a video to launch is critical. If video start time exceeds 2 seconds, the number of people that abandon viewing dramatically increases—400% for long-form VOD and for live content, abandoned views increase 140%.
  • Viewers with a buffer-free experience watch 226% more and are four times more likely to stay and watch if video starts in 2 seconds or less
  • For live video streams, viewers not impacted by buffering watch 10 times longer.

 

Consumers have more options than ever when it comes to video entertainment. Will regions that enjoy reliable, high-speed Internet service rapidly abandon cable television—or does cable television enjoy a an intrinsic quality advantage, in terms of the overall experience, that will not be surpassed by streaming video any time soon? I suppose the real question is this: YouTube may have announced that it won the battle versus TV, but what chance does it have of winning the war against cable? After all, YouTube may compete against TV, but it is still highly dependent on cable-provided Internet access to reach its audience.


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Old 05-08-2013, 06:59 PM
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I'm not sure YouTube can claim any such victory.

For one thing, just because something gets a lot of looks, doesn't mean it's taking anything away from something else. People may be watching more YouTube videos than ever, but they aren't necessarily watching them instead of TV. In fact, there's plenty of evidence to show that a lot of people are watching stuff on YouTube that they already saw on TV - and want to see again, such as Super Bowl commercials, SNL skits and various favorite clips from shows.

Second, the bulk of the most watched content is short form on YouTube. What they don't tell you is people tend to bail on stuff over a few minutes. They watch, reach a lull, get bored and click on one of the other suggestions. So, Youtube is far far better suited for short form entertainment, which isn't a bad thing. Short form material has been a gateway for many a future director, producer or actor to get into the business as a professional.

Third, some of the most popular content on Youtube right now is music. People want to hear a song (or hear a song and go online to figure out what it is) and very often end up listening to it on Youtube, where they often have a choice of the official music video or the song with the lyrics displayed. Honestly, for myself, it's become a great way to sample music before I buy it. I used to do that back in the Napster days, when being able to listen to a full song as well as see what similar stuff is out there made me buy more music than I ever had before or since. Being able to preview a full song has started to get me back into that mode of seeking out and buying music again. That's something the music industry doesn't get.

Youtube may have a lot to offer for entertainment, but it's no substitute for TV. Mainly, they don't have the kind of agreements companies like Amazon, Netflix and Hulu have.

Youtube is more something you watch when there's nothing on TV rather than in place of it. There are other, better services that can replace TV.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:38 PM
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As has been reported on Reddit and other places, many ISPs also serve up atrocious YouTube reliability even if all else works well on their network. They hate Google due to business and copyright disputes, and while they may not collude to impede their performance they do nothing to help it either.

I have experienced the problem firsthand - I'm one of the rare people who can easily stream HD YT on my TV, but depending on the video and time of day and its length and age of upload it may not play reliably as the article reports. And this is incredibly frustrating.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by bewlaybrothers View Post

As has been reported on Reddit and other places, many ISPs also serve up atrocious YouTube reliability even if all else works well on their network. They hate Google due to business and copyright disputes, and while they may not collude to impede their performance they do nothing to help it either.

I have experienced the problem firsthand - I'm one of the rare people who can easily stream HD YT on my TV, but depending on the video and time of day and its length and age of upload it may not play reliably as the article reports. And this is incredibly frustrating.

Agree, most times i cant even get a 360p video to play without a ton of buffering. on a 30/3 connection
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post

I'm not sure YouTube can claim any such victory.

For one thing, just because something gets a lot of looks, doesn't mean it's taking anything away from something else. People may be watching more YouTube videos than ever, but they aren't necessarily watching them instead of TV. In fact, there's plenty of evidence to show that a lot of people are watching stuff on YouTube that they already saw on TV - and want to see again, such as Super Bowl commercials, SNL skits and various favorite clips from shows.

Second, the bulk of the most watched content is short form on YouTube. What they don't tell you is people tend to bail on stuff over a few minutes. They watch, reach a lull, get bored and click on one of the other suggestions. So, Youtube is far far better suited for short form entertainment, which isn't a bad thing. Short form material has been a gateway for many a future director, producer or actor to get into the business as a professional.

Third, some of the most popular content on Youtube right now is music. People want to hear a song (or hear a song and go online to figure out what it is) and very often end up listening to it on Youtube, where they often have a choice of the official music video or the song with the lyrics displayed. Honestly, for myself, it's become a great way to sample music before I buy it. I used to do that back in the Napster days, when being able to listen to a full song as well as see what similar stuff is out there made me buy more music than I ever had before or since. Being able to preview a full song has started to get me back into that mode of seeking out and buying music again. That's something the music industry doesn't get.

Youtube may have a lot to offer for entertainment, but it's no substitute for TV. Mainly, they don't have the kind of agreements companies like Amazon, Netflix and Hulu have.

Youtube is more something you watch when there's nothing on TV rather than in place of it. There are other, better services that can replace TV.

I agree,, Youtube is growing, but it's not replacing anything. People use youtube to share video with each other, often over social media etc...it obviously has the leg in that regard, and I probably use it more for the same reasons then I ever have before....but I don't see it replacing my anything in my living room any time soon.

The ONLY way I could POSSIBLY see Youtube replacing TV/cable would be if it was strongly incorporated into the next gen consoles and somehow magically becomes a feasible solution as the first widely used option to deliver 4k sources to homes. I just see far too many hurdles for that to be the case.

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Old 05-08-2013, 11:18 PM
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If You Tube has won there is no longer a need for HDTV's or AVS Forum or Blu-Ray anything of quality. Far too many people think MP3 files sound great, streaming movies is great, studios love this cause they get back full control
of their product. Netflix just lost over 1000 films from it's streaming library, studios will once again control what we can see and when. I'm building my blu-ray library as fast as I can before it's killed off in favor of studio controlled streaming crap.
The dull witted masses are winning again.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:33 AM
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Now that I think about it, I'm much more interested in keeping up with Youtube subscriptions than anything else. On the weekends I also like to watch concerts, I just recently streamed a Metallica concert from France in HD.

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Old 05-09-2013, 04:32 AM
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Winning the war over TV? In what age group? I'll admit I use YouTube several times a week and maybe a little bit more. It's baseball season and next it will be football season, and I'm not watching it unless it's live. But I do admit my 17 year old son practically lives on YouTube.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Sibuna View Post

Agree, most times i cant even get a 360p video to play without a ton of buffering. on a 30/3 connection

Strange. I can get uninterrupted 1080p playback on my PC and TV with only 10/1 mbps, I don't even have access to cable or fiber. To think Aussie net is better for YouTube is mind blowing.

I personally use YouTube daily as I can't get the content I'm after anywhere else. I heavily follow the professional Starcraft II scene and all the content (from companies like MLG or personalities like HuskyStarcraft) is on YT. Being able to watch it at 1080p with no buffering on my TV in the lounge room is about as good as it gets for my needs. If something does take awhile to load, I'm happy to wait, as the video I'm loading is something I genuinely want to watch.

Maybe those statistic cited are based upon 14 year olds who just chain watch "Suggested Videos" and don't closely follow a hand full of subscriptions? I've heard the majority of YT users don't even have an account.

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Old 05-09-2013, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by e08 View Post


Strange. I can get uninterrupted 1080p playback on my PC and TV with only 10/1 mbps, I don't even have access to cable or fiber. To think Aussie net is better for YouTube is mind blowing.

I have no issues streaming most content on YouTube. I watch 1080p videos all the time, it's crystal-clear. My Internet is Xfinity "Xtreme 105" 105/20 — I generally feel that I get what I pay for.


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Old 05-09-2013, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e08 View Post

Strange. I can get uninterrupted 1080p playback on my PC and TV with only 10/1 mbps, I don't even have access to cable or fiber. To think Aussie net is better for YouTube is mind blowing.

I personally use YouTube daily as I can't get the content I'm after anywhere else. I heavily follow the professional Starcraft II scene and all the content (from companies like MLG or personalities like HuskyStarcraft) is on YT. Being able to watch it at 1080p with no buffering on my TV in the lounge room is about as good as it gets for my needs. If something does take awhile to load, I'm happy to wait, as the video I'm loading is something I genuinely want to watch.

Maybe those statistic cited are based upon 14 year olds who just chain watch "Suggested Videos" and don't closely follow a hand full of subscriptions? I've heard the majority of YT users don't even have an account.

im pretty sure its ISPs (mine is time warner) messing with it, tons of complaints from many different ISPs about youtube speed
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post

I have no issues streaming most content on YouTube. I watch 1080p videos all the time, it's crystal-clear. My Internet is Xfinity "Xtreme 105" 105/20 — I generally feel that I get what I pay for.
This is why I thought it strange, somebody that has 3x the download speed I get is struggling to play 360p content. Maybe there is something else going on on his end? Doesn't seem right at all. I'd definitely be ringing my ISP giving them an ear full.

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Old 05-09-2013, 09:11 AM
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Google's number is meaningless what is a view like a website Page view it means nothing. It may just show that there is nothing good on youtube and users have to flip through 10-20 before they give up or find something of interest.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Google's number is meaningless what is a view like a website Page view it means nothing. It may just show that there is nothing good on youtube and users have to flip through 10-20 before they give up or find something of interest.

 

There is quite a bit of data about that in the streamingmedia.com article. If the stream is not abandoned while it's buffering, in all likelihood it will be watched. Because ads come before videos, even if the stream ends up stuttering or playing in low resolution, the advertisement has already been watched. And in the end, any comparison of YouTube and television has to take advertising into account.
 
Even if you take away all of the extra views accountable to meaningless short "channel flipping" style watching, YouTube's number is far from meaningless. There is no one channel with that kind of reach. YouTube may not have won the battle against TV as a whole, but it has certainly beaten any one given channel.

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Old 05-09-2013, 09:25 AM
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This is why I thought it strange, somebody that has 3x the download speed I get is struggling to play 360p content. Maybe there is something else going on on his end? Doesn't seem right at all. I'd definitely be ringing my ISP giving them an ear full.

as i said its most like the ISP throttling it, im not alone

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2318447
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:27 AM
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YouTube is for free. Lets see how fast those viewings drop once YouTube starts subscription channels
http://www.reelseo.com/youtube-paid-subscription/
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PretzelFisch View Post

Google's number is meaningless what is a view like a website Page view it means nothing. It may just show that there is nothing good on youtube and users have to flip through 10-20 before they give up or find something of interest.

On the contrary. Video view counts on YouTube mean a lot more than someone loading the page, waiting 2 seconds and clicking to a new page. To get a YouTube 'view', users have to watch most of the video for it register. So comparing a page load to a YouTube view is like apples and oranges.

This is kinda off topic but just wanted people to know video views are NOT the same as page loads like you stated.

If you want to know more about YT views and how they work and why Google treats them like a currency, check this video out (there is more to the video than the title states)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIkhgagvrjI
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Originally Posted by Sibuna View Post

as i said its most like the ISP throttling it, im not alone

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2318447

Did you sign a contract agreeing to them throttling YouTube? If not, then they have no legal grounds to do so...

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Old 05-09-2013, 09:54 AM
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We watch a ton of youtube. My wife more, she watches Ellen like mad. Kids watch a lot of kids shows. We also get some viewing off of network websites like NBC, CTV, etc. Youtube and torrents is probably the most though. I haven't had a cable bill my entire life, and plan to never have one. Before the internet caught on, I just bought DVDs. I'll watch youtube and network commercials, because I'm not paying youtube. But with cable, it costs more than my internet bill, and there's more commercials AND the internet can do a lot more than cable can rolleyes.gif
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:15 AM
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IF it was reliable enough, offered high qulity audio and DID NOT lock up, it would be a no brainer. Add CBS and HBO and I'm in! But! They have to solve the issues of the streaming without pausing
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:41 AM
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As I see it in general the problem with streaming is the inability to store and play later. This would take care of buffering type of issues. Vudu let's one on a few pieces of hardware do this but only for 12/24 hours. It would be more appealing if it was 1 week. Currently I subscribe to Netflix (disk) because if I don't watch it immediately I can keep it for as long as I want. If I could download and keep for a week this would be satisfactory. I am tempted to expand my DVD/BD library like others.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:43 AM
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imo, the company giving me internet and the company giving me content need to be the same.

as long as they are independent, it's going to be a battle and when one is unreliable they will blame the other.

the fact is, at this moment in time i can't rely on my internet connection. streaming video is as good as my neighbour having an extension DVD collection. i SHOULD be able to watch no problems, but often he's not around, or he's using the DVD, or he scratched that disc, etc.

the internet 'works', but most days will not support hi def streaming during peak hours. i don't think my provider wants to make their internet any better, since it might encourage streaming which means i won't have my cable bundled with my internet anymore.

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Old 05-09-2013, 12:18 PM
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I notice a lot of youtube content lately takes forever to buffer and I have 20mbs down. And they are not even 1080p content, 480 or 720p. I'm with TWC and we didn't have this problem the same time last year.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiddenleavez View Post

I notice a lot of youtube content lately takes forever to buffer and I have 20mbs down. And they are not even 1080p content, 480 or 720p. I'm with TWC and we didn't have this problem the same time last year.

I'm fairly sure YouTube has changed the way it streams the video to its users. I remember last year I could pause a video and it would still download, so I could "queue up" HD videos while my internet was capped for the month and watch them fully without any buffering (capped net is slower than the kpbs needed to stream buffer-free). Now if you pause a downloading video, it pauses the download so you can't queue videos anymore. I've also noticed the initial download speed of videos is much higher than when the video is being watched (say, from 30 seconds in).

Seems like Google is trying to optimize it's streaming settings but they aren't working for everyone (or most people it seems).

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Old 05-09-2013, 02:21 PM
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I'm surprised so many people have reliability issues. Youtube streams flawlessly for me.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:46 PM
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I'm surprised someone would be fool enough to call it a war. To me they are two entirely different things.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:03 AM
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I love my HD cable cool.gif

For now anyways, things are changing fast..

But high speed/high volume Internet in Canada is still too expensive frown.gif

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