According to IDC, 94% of consumers can play streams of 1200 or higher

I was reading through some material on Adobe’s web site (specifically, here) and noticed the following table, which I’ve copied verbatim, along with the explanatory note. Citing an August, 2008 IDC study that’s referenced below, the table states that 94% of all consumers polled by IDC had downstream bandwidth sufficient to retrieve and play a streaming video file produced at 1200 kbps. In addition, 69% of all viewers could retrieve a 2400 kbps file.

I figured it was worth a post, because most sites that I’ve reviewed are producing at much lower bitrates than even 1200 kbps. If you haven’t reviewed your streaming parameters recently, perhaps these stats wil provide some motivation. As they say, either go big, or don’t go at all.

Video size types Video size 4:3 aspect size 16:9 aspect size Total bit rate (Kbps) Video bit rate (Kbps) Audio bit rate (Kbps) % US broadband consumers* QCIF 176×144 144×108 192×144 192×108 256×144 48
80 16 (mono)
16 (mono) Modem and ISDN
2% CIF 352×288 288×216 320×240 384×216
384×216 300
372 32 (stereo)
128 (stereo) Low-end DSL
4% D1 720×486 640×480
640×480 852×480
852×480 800
1072 128 (stereo)
128 (stereo) Faster DSL
25% HD 1280×720 –
– 1280×720
1280×720 1800
2272 128 (stereo)
128 (stereo) Cable modems

* Note: Based on the IDC 2008 Consumer Panel Broadband Survey. Each figure represents the percentage of users who have the bandwidth to support the respective total bit rate in that category. For example, 25% of users have bandwidth of at least 1200 Kbps to support the D1 video type but don’t have the higher bandwidth needed to support the next higher bit rate of 1800 Kbps.

About Jan Ozer

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I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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