Moore's Law at Home vs Desire for Quality

The growth in network upload capacity for servers will help mitigate BBC distribution costs from a central location. However growth in download capacity by our audience's tumbling costs will wipe out any savings.

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Traditionally the BBC has aimed to send the best quality audio and video services that the user can receive. Over dialup we provided video at download speeds that fit over a dialup. For the Olympics - we assumed that broadband users have 10 times that capacity. As a result we provided video 10 times larger and much closer to the casual observer to digital TV quality (10 times more on both sides).

In years to come home download speeds will grow 10 fold. Our audience will be able and expect to, receive HDTV quality video over broadband. Likewise the BBC will also want to deliver this quality. Upload capacity would need to grow 10 fold again, simply to service the current audience size - eliminating savings in upload costs for the older poorer quality.

As every person buying broadband knows - greater capacity costs more. Simply changing from 2-4 million streams per day to 2-4 million users per second means our upload capacity means costs to the license fee payer grow dramatically. Grow that 10 fold again, and you get a very large number indeed!

Since Moore's law doesn't really help us, any work we can do to reduce the need for users to user their full download capacity saves us money. Reducing the bandwidth required for HDTV quality video will enable the BBC to provide the audience with higher quality video using a flexible, scalable approach.

Challenge: To find a way of capping the need for bandwidth usage on the client end. This may mean that research into higher quality video in smaller and smaller bit rates becomes ever more important to allow the BBC to remove Moore's law from the client side of the equation.


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