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Video bandwidth vampires

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Monday March 23, 2009 )

The way video is implemented on some sites is becoming an increasing problem for people on slow connections and stingy bandwidth caps. Site owners, take note – not everyone has an all you can eat account.

I was doing the rounds of some news sites earlier today, opening multiple browser tabs as I did. What I didn’t notice is that halfway down a page of one site was a video automatically playing. By the time I had cottoned on to it, it had sucked up 250 megabytes of my precious bandwidth – 5% of my monthly quota of my wireless broadband connection; and it’s not cheap.

This type of implementation is just plain thoughtless and rude. Video should not automatically start, the user should decide. Additionally, streams should be optimized – there’s no reason for such a small video of the duration it was to have taken up so much bandwidth.

Video is a very powerful tool, but like all tools it can create or destroy – such as cases like these where it can turn visitors (and potential customers) away. I’ve certainly made a mental note not to visit that site again.


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