back to article Netflix overtakes Bittorrent as traffic champ

Is solving the copyright "wars" really so difficult? New traffic research shows that Netflix has overtaken Bittorrent as America's favourite internet application, knocking http into third place. "P2P is here to stay," note the authors in Sandvine's Global Internet Report, Spring 2011 edition, which shows that demand for legal, …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so when

    So when is lovefilms going to update its rubbish list of online films (there are some good ones but mostly rubbish) and get a decent media delivery system (their quality is awful - like youtube before youtube got the higher def versions but with lower quality frame rates and more compression artefacts).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Lovefilm streaming

      I don't quite understand Lovefilm streaming. If I go pay per view on a new release it costs e.g. £3.50 (latest Harry Potter for example). This gets you limited short time period to watch the film, with no special features on the disk, at lower bit rates than the DVD/Blu-Ray which I could have had included within the monthly disk package for less.

      I tried threatening to cancel my subscription, but the only competition is Sony's Qriocity and I doubt anyone would take that seriously now after the recent fiasco. Lovefilm customer services reply was basically "your ADSL can't handle it", which couldn't be further from the truth and I have the connection graphs from AAISP to show it. Still making their CS rep see the light seems seems to be next to impossible for this and another feature request I made in the past. (How can telling my flatmates my password for the entire account be *more secure* than adding the ability to delegate control of a single list to another user?)

      Would be nice to see some real competition in this country.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A fine example

        I remember reading the lies about adsl connections, however if you compare it to a good streaming service like crunchyroll which on its top settings while not comparable to a TS rip look close to a standard HD TV rip and are being streamed from the states and have no problems on my connection 10mbit. The 480p streams are as good as most dvds and worked on my old 2 mbit connection with little problem.

        But lovefilm are a typical british company, also I wonder how much of their lameness is down to restrictions placed on them by the media houses.

  2. Captain Underpants

    It's extremely sad that this is a surprise

    But then again the kind of large companies that monetise copyrighted content aren't exactly fast to come up with new business models, and always seem to think that complaining about piracy is the best and only way to deal with new technologies.

    I've been waiting for several years to be able to sign up for a UK equivalent of Netflix - just for streaming. I can live with DRM and non-Linux support, so long as I can use it for impulse-buy streaming. I know plenty of others who'd do the same thing, if it were reasonably priced.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: It's extremely sad that this is a surprise

      Me too.

    2. Juan Inamillion

      @It's extremely sad that this is a surprise

      I know so many people who feel the same way.

    3. Keith Bee

      An Old Skeptic

      If it were cheap enough and good quality, and they actually put some oomph behind it I would go for it, but the old dkeptic in me says it'll be considerably more expensive, have less choice and struggle to cope with demand compared to America.

      But hey, don't worry, copyright-holders, the pirate community will be more than happy to take up the slack until you get your act together. Carry on, fellas.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty obvious...

    Can you imagine what it would be like if people outside of North America were actually allowed by licence holders to access their service...? But no, they have to try to sue us all instead and make it *more* difficult to access legal material than the Americans are allowed to. That will fight piracy how, I wonder?

  4. Jason 24

    Hang on...

    A fiver a month to stream as much as I want? Where and when can I sign up? This is an absolute not brainer, I already pay £60 odd a month for sky, an extra fiver won't break the bank, gimme gimme gimme! I'll even be happy to offer my upload bandwidth to help with their costs, I already offer it on torrents to keep an equal share ratio so makes no odds to me.

    1. Jelliphiish


      would be why it's not available on this side of the pond.. SLY have trained us pavlovian-style into paying 60 quid a month for something that is clearly not worth it to the yanks.. how much again for skymovies on its' own.. oh wait.. it's not something you can have on it's own..

      Also, good article andrew.

    2. Mark #255

      exchange rates, exchange rates

      It might be $8/month over there. That'll be turned into £8, add some VAT, round it up and you're at £10/month. Just you watch.

      My middle name really ought to be Cassandra.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon


        "My middle name really ought to be Cassandra"

        I don't believe you.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Even if it was? So what?

        Still lots cheaper and much more useful. Maybe it's Sky that's stopping it from heading across the pond?

    3. Sir Cosmo Bonsor

      £60 a MONTH for SKY?

      Ever think about maybe getting out of the house a little more often?

    4. John 104


      Just move to the US. :) We have plenty of room here for you. And hell, you don't even have to be legal!

  5. dr2chase

    There may be a minor complicating factor

    It's the nature of bittorrent, that you can set it up to run at off hours, not peak hours, so as not to trash other internet uses in your home, so it may be the case that BitTorrent still has the larger share of the daily (not peak) download rate.

    TFA didn't have much more info than was reported here, so this is still conjecture.

  6. Troy Peterson


    My Viera TV has Acetrax built in. I love it. Service is fast and the quality is superb. Even during peak times on my crappy Central London 2mbit BT line I still see no artifacts or glitches when streaming high def. The catalog is... not bad.... but far from good. The only downside of Acetrax is the limited catelog...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      A legal alternative to the net that the users use. Cheaper too, make it available and I'd go legal in a second..

    2. Bluenose

      2mbits at peak time......

      You lucky b.....

      Where I live in the outer wilderness north of London known as the outskirts of Milton Keynes, I'm lucky to get 0.4mbits from my ISP. Interestingly though my neighbour also gets his broadband from the sme ISP but under a different brand name and he claims not to get less then 2.5mbps in the evening peak time.

      And the shame is that I have identifie a number of services from LoveFild, to Qriocity, to Acetrax to (via my linux PC) blinkbox all of whom are tempting me with streamed movies which I cannot dare trry to use 'cos I can't guarantee the broadband can cope.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Good on Netflix.

    If artists, actors, software developers etc. want to sell their work for money, they should get the money. I have no moral objection to piracy, however, if it is impossible or disproportionately difficult to go legit. This is a step in the right direction.

  8. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart


    My son, who is living in merkinland, has Netflix, and for $9.99 has a virtual unlimited supply of new films, he simply orders the film on the interweb, and in a couple of days it is queued up on his Netflix box, and it remains there for as long as he wants and he can watch it as many times as he wants. Interestingly a series counts as one choice, so he can order say southpark series 15 and only counts as one choice. Netflix is, of course, supplying HD to his Netflix box and HD TV.

    I, on the other hand, used to be a Sky victim, eh customer, I enquired, after pay my bill faithfully for 9 years, how I could get a HD Sky+ box, after all they were giving them free to new customers. However to get a HD Sky+ box I had to Pay for installation ("engineer" required to unplug old box and plug in new one) AND take out a subscription to a premium service, No you perverts, not that kind of premium service, it means taking Sky Sports, or Films etc. and doubling my monthly fee.

    So now I'm a customer of UPC with a HD+ box and it only costs €3 more than the standard Sky package!!!!!!

    Well done Sky, you know how to retain your customers.

    1. Geoffrey W


      Is that how using a non-computer works? You queue items and watch those after waiting a period? Of course you can do better than this if you use a web browser on a computer. Then you just browse through the catalog and if a film/program is available for streaming you just play it then, no waiting or queuing. As often as you like. Leave it in the middle and resume later where you left off. I was extremely sceptical about streaming until we got the service and now I wouldnt be without it. I sometimes stream the content to our TV set. The things you cannot get streaming, which is quite a lot of stuff, you can get via DVD. And all for $9.99 per month. I guess the price quoted in the article is before tax.

  9. Ministry of Truth

    Am I being thick or something but...

    Admittedly this says "most bits past the post" goes to Netflix, but is that indicative of the number of people using this service, and the considerable bandwidth needed to stream video at high enough quality to make it worth watching?

    I'd be very interested to see how many people that consumed bandwidth is shared across, to see just how efficient this sort of service is if it were scaled up to accomodate more people.

    One can only imagine how many facebook liketards would be online at the same time to generate the fraction of consumption of Netflix...?

    It's really interesting that Netflix has overtaken Bittorrent traffic levels - is this de-facto internet regulation based on preference of source by ISPs or anthing like that?

    Forgive my ignorance, and please try not to mock as you explain it to me...?

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      facebook liketards

      "One can only imagine how many facebook liketards would be online at the same time to generate the fraction of consumption of Netflix...?"

      I've seen some of the "facebook liketards" in action, and I'd guess it only takes about 10 of them to equal a good quality HD stream!

      BTW you owe me a new keyboard for "facebook liketards"

  10. Mectron

    a baby step in the right direction

    Netflix is a good thing, (so is Hulu), but the eterteiment industry still have a hard time understanding one simple thing: THERE IS ONE MARKET: EARTH

    Bit Torrent offert just about anything that has ever been created, with no (ILLEGAL) geo blocking.....

    1. Keith Bee

      Having a Moan

      When they finally realise America isn't the world they will be entitled to stop moaning about piracy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        to paraphrase

        "For those non-American viewers who understand the whole world doesn't consist of a single continent floating on an endless sea of illegal immigrants"

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Lovefilm Streaming Ripoff

    I have a £13.27 2 discs at a time Lovefilm subscription but they want an extra £3.49 a time to stream a newly released movie at sub-optimal bit rates.

    I'll stick with DVDs in the post.

    1. MaximumJed
      Thumb Down

      RE:Lovefilm Streaming Ripoff

      Oh yes, when LoveFilm launched on PS3 I subscribed to the service just so I had an easy movies on demand option on my gaming TV. Unfortunately, that awful bit rate meant that movies are virtually unwatchable half the time (Virgin 50Mb connection btw), even the wife thought that they were awful.

      Added to the fact that the application is a dead duck that doesn't support paging, has a mostly useless amount of content (old films are removed when new ones are added), and the fact that it's been unavailable for the last two months because even though it has its own internal registration/authentication system, it still needs the PSN to connect - we have finally gotten rid of it.

      Makes me sad to see all the progress that Netflix and Hulu are making in the US when I read Engadget etc, multi-platform, masses of content, reasonable prices etc because I know it'll never launch over here.

  12. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Exchange rates - hah

    Here in the land of the almighty Canadian dollar (tremble merkins) we just got netflix - for the same $8

    The selection on makes the VHS bargain bin in a welsh petrol station on a sunday look inviting.

    1. JCL

      I agree

      I agree with both those points. We pay the same amount each month for the service, but the amount of content just doesn't compare.

      That said, Netflix wins because I live in the middle of nowhere with a slow postal service and no dvd rental store, I can't bring myself to watch movies on cable because of the never ending adverts, and because it's cheap, instant and generally has a good quality picture.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    eating all the bandwidth

    With netflix users eating up so much bandwidth, I wonder about how much those of us who don't use it are subsidizing the networks required to deliver it.

    The same consumption of bandwidth by p2p was seen as a bad thing.

    1. Alpha Tony

      @AC eating all the bandwidth

      Am not sure why you got the downvotes here - It's a valid point.

      Capping accounts that make excessive use of P2P at peak times is considered acceptable by ISPs and regulators on the basis of fair use (nothing to do with any potential copyright enfringement). Not to mention that ISPs were making rumbing noises about the BBC i-Player taking too much bandwidth and were even lobbying for the BBC to have to pay for new infrastructure as a result (although without success).

      Out of interest how much is an ADSL connection in the US, are there useage limits etc? Am curious if their infrastructure is just so much better than ours that that their ISPs aren't concerned about the bandwidth, or if this is likely to become an issue as the service becomes more and more popular..

      1. Disco-Legend-Zeke

        US ADSL Prices...


        ...are kept in check by Cable Internet prices to a certain extent.

        Example prices for a bundle with voice and unlimited Long Distance:

        "Up to" 10 Meg $95/month plus taxes of $15 (i pay for this one. My real measured bandwidth is 7 megs, which was told to me by the installation guy, i had upgraded from 5 megs, and my NETFLIX quality jumped to HD)

        5 meg $90

        3 meg $75

        1.5 meg $70

        768Kb $65

        The unbundled price is $30 lower if you have a phone, and $20 lower to rent a copper pair without dial tone.

        The carrier in my area, Century Link, is rolling out FTTC and offering 20 and 40 meg services, i am not sure what the prices are. The cable company offers a similar price structure, but their bundle includes TV channels.

        Just for comparison, a "real" high speed connection for business sells for about $15 per meg, plus local loop. Where fiber is already in the building, the local loop is about $1250 per month.

        I have no way of checking this, but i rather imagine NETFLIX has a content delivery system in place in the larger markets, so the ISP's are not faced with the backbone load in the way that they are with P2P movie transfers.

        A clarification of the

        NETFLIX pricing structure, the $9 package includes one DVD out at a time and the streaming service. The $8 streaming only package does NOT include STARZ PLAY, which has many of the better titles.

        *YMMV, but beer helps.

  14. James Woods

    I don't mind payin for quality

    I purchased 2 downloadable games from EA games in recent weeks.

    We know this software is developed and produced using outsourcing and cheap code.

    We know we as the customers have to jump through hoops to make it work.

    This is why people choose to download stuff without paying for it. When you do pay for it you get crap and no customer service.

    That's the corporate america way.

    Pay us, screw you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      EA Games

      I know someone who works for EA Games. I'm not so sure that their coding is cheap.

      He had 50" plasmas when the rest of us were just getting 28" tube TVs, and wasn't sure if he should put one in the spare room too, just in case he had a guest. I wouldn't try to hazard a guess at how much the HiFi was worth, but it wouldn't fit in my livingroom even if I took everything else out of it.

  15. soaklord


    I have Netflix streaming only, found that the blu-rays just sat when I ordered them, so they were pointless. I have had up to 500 items in my instant que at a time, so there is enough there to keep me interested. Most of it is older seasons of tv shows, and classic movies. Blockbusters do not make it on to the que until they are quite a bit older and then not always. Star Wars is not streamable, for example. But I use it. And I don't torrent (anymore). It is proof that if you make the content reasonably priced, you will see high adoption. Remember when allofmp3 was thought to be legal? They rivaled itunes. I happily spent hundreds of merkin dollars on the site. I was very sad when it shut down.


    Step 1 Develop content library

    Step 2 Make it accessible for very little money

    Step 3 Watch the hoards come with wallets in hand

    Step 4 Profit!

    Traditional Media

    Step 1 Develop content library

    Step 2 Make it inaccessible without paying loads of money and possibly exposing yourself to rootkits (Sony!)

    Step 3 Sue people who can not afford lawyers, let alone the fines when they circumvent Step 2




    Step 10 Profit?

  16. David Halko

    Netfix options are greater than suggested

    > The fact that Netflix sells a bundle... receive DVDs... "free" viewing on your Mac or PC... games console or Netflix-enabled TV (Or even a streaming-enabled hard drive)

    You forgot the iPhone and iPad (over cellular networks) as well as iPhone, iPad, and iPodTouch over WiFi.

    Watching movies on mass transit, from the great movie repository in the sky, is nice!

  17. Radelix

    It is very nice

    I am one of those who uses it a good deal of the time. Im paying for a $40/mo cable connection and just use Hulu, Netflix, and XBMC for my media. I have rabbit ears for local news and what not. Sometimes I miss some of the content on the cable channels but that is usually 1 bitorrent search away. I have no reason to rent cable tv for an extra $50.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Alternatives are welcome !!!

    I refuse to pay sky TV for the movie channels. looking through the tv guide I find it hard to actually find 2 or three movies a month I would want to watch. My sister has the same issue, but will pay for a PPV box office movie.

    Currently I pay arounf £15 for three months rapidshare pro account and with my fast internet connection 2.2 k/s it doesn't take more than a few minutes to download a movie or an episode of a tv series (about 10 min for a 720i ). with an assortment of different media players attached to various tvs,i can choose where i want to watch... if a movie is good or the series is good i will but the dvd's

    I refuse to pay the premium for a Bluray disk. The manufacturing process cant cost anywhere near what the extra cost from DVD to blueray they stiff you for it. if it was a extra £1 then fair enough, but on average its nearly £10 more !! robbing barstewards.

    if there was a service as good as netflix here in the uk, for the same price they are charging for it in the USA then I would give up my rapidshare account in favour of the legal service !! but untill that day,....

    Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.

    We pillage plunder, we rifle and loot.

    Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

    We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot.

    Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

    Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.

    We extort and pilfer, we filch and sack.

    Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

    Maraud and embezzle and even highjack.

    Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

    Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.

    We kindle and char and in flame and ignite.

    Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

    We burn up the city, we're really a fright.

    Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

    We're rascals and scoundrels, we're villians and knaves.

    Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

    We're devils and black sheep, we're really bad eggs.

    Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

    We're beggars and blighters and ne'er do-well cads,

    Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

    Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads,

    Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

    Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Small correction


      Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me."

      There. I fixed it for you.

  19. JB

    Good for a change

    We use Netflix on our Xbox, very convenient. Yes, the selection is a bit iffy in places - loads of straight-to-video rubbish and PBS documentaries dressed up as films, but if you take the time to read the synopses and use IMDB, there are some really good films in there. When I lived in the UK I ad Lovefilm, just no comparison to Netflix.

    I worry a bit, though - with the ISPs complaining we use too much bandwidth, how can they sustain these services? Who's going to blink first, the ISPs or content providers? If you only have a 50Gig a month data cap, that would be about 10 HD Netflix films, never mind all the other stuff like browsing the web.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Free IPv6 tunnel account with + Free IPv6 usenet account + SabNZB + = All you can eat diner plus no need to share anything and no copyright cartel paid snoops looking over your shoulder.

    I'll pay for if when it is more convenient, as good in quality, reasonably priced and they don't treat the rest of the world as another planet with artificial release schedules.

  21. Mike VandeVelde

    non copyright infringing is at the bottom of the feature list

    I have Netflix here in Canada. The selection almost approaches passable, but it will only grow. Nice to have it on the Wii as well. You probably won't find what you're looking for, but you can find something watchable. Lots of classics. Giving up on basic cable, Netflix helps tip the scales a little.

    I also have an Emusic account. Similar boat, but I find the selection is fantastic (as long as you're not into top 40, further bonus). The historical lack of drm is a key factor for Emusic, I would abandon Netflix in the blink of an eye for a similar competitor with drm free downloads, I would even pay more or if it were possible suffer a less complete library.

    The thing is, if there were a pirate version that was more all around convenient, I would drop them. I use these legal options because of the work they put into their libraries. If I do a search, I know all the results will be what they say on the tin, and of standardized decent quality, and that there are people whose job is to organize things to help me discover what I like. That's worth something to me, so I pay for it. The fact that they won't be simply turned off some day by some globo corp lawyers, and that they won't be throttled by my friendly neighbourhood ISP, and that some thug bondsman won't be sniffing my underwear and sending me extortionate nastygrams, well those are bonuses too, but I would suffer possible annoyances for a good experience. The fact that a few pennies out of what I'm paying might make it back to the artists, well that's nice and all but really not much different than those round up your purchase price for charity deals they have going on in some places - practically inconsequential to me. Sure I'll pay - especially when part of a useful service. To be a part of the stories we tell each other and the songs we sing to each other and the things we talk about together. This stuff exists, Napster opened people's eyes, no matter how much wack a mole they play it will keep emerging, if they were smart they would have jumped on board as soon as it all got rolling instead of trying so hard to hold it all back etc.

    What is this "added to my queue" of which you southern Netflixors speak? Here in Canada we have full access to the (ahem) full catalog at any time!

    1. JB

      Added to my queue

      You can do that south of the border too. They have an Instant queue just like the DVD queue, but you don't have to watch them in order, just pick the one you want to watch now.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bandwidth Limits

    Too bad ISPs in the US are starting to introduce bandwidth limits. The ISPs are owned by media companies who really don't stand to benifit from this business model, and they don't have any competition.

  23. Chris Clawson

    Makes you wonder

    I mentioned Netflix having more traffic than Bittorrent to a friend, and he said "You'd think it had porn."

    Mine's the one with the hood (I thought it was supposed to be spring by now?)

  24. sush

    You have to wait

    The lovefilms will going to update soon.You have to wait only some time.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022