/ Technology

Can broadband keep up with our binge-watching habits?

Orange is the new black on a mobile device

According to Ofcom, more and more people are enjoying on demand TV thanks to the availability of superfast broadband. But are you missing out on the latest episode of Game of Thrones because of your poor internet connection?

We’re apparently a nation of binge-viewers, according to Ofcom’s new research, with 40 million of us (or eight in ten adults) now watching TV episodes back to back.

When the new season of Orange is the New Black came out on Netflix this summer, I promised myself to watch it sparingly. 48 hours later, I’d finished it.

There is something incredibly moreish about having access to multiple episodes of your favourite show, and I think we’re starting to see this influence the way in which shows are written and produced. Late 90s / early 00s favourite The West Wing had 22 episodes in each season nearing about 1000 minutes of viewing time per season. Shows are much less likely to be produced in this format anymore because the way we watch them is different.

Digital changes

The Communications Markets Report 2017, released annually and out today, unleashes some interesting observations about the way we view and use technology in our lives. It’s no surprise that this is constantly evolving and that we are in many ways becoming more dependent on our devices.

Ofcom cites the trends in instant entertainment as being partly due to the availability of faster home internet speeds.

But as we continue to uncover, there are stark differences between good and bad broadband speed for millions of people. So is there a danger of people missing out on spectacular TV entertainment that should be available at their fingertips?

Take our speed test

Ownership of internet-enabled devices is on the rise according to today’s Ofcom report. Nearly four in ten under 55s now own an internet enabled smart TV which explains the increase in ‘binge-watching’ habits, but if you can’t get a decent connection then are you going to start missing out as culture starts to lean more towards this style of watching your favourite shows?

Your views on broadband speed

So, do you have internet-enabled devices in your home? Is bad broadband impacting your ability to keep up with your favourite shows?

Does your internet connection restrict your TV watching habits?

No (74%, 111 Votes)

Yes (26%, 40 Votes)

Total Voters: 151

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Comments
Member

Just another reason why the government should fund FTTP connections throughout the UK. It’s rapidly become an essential service.

Member

As the internet on demand TV companies are the ones making faster broadband necessary, I think they should be the ones funding FTTP.

Amazon have just bought the UK rights to ATP tennis for £10 million a year. Do Amazon and Netflix pay anything towards the internet platform they use to peddle their products?

Member

Its nearer than you think Alfa- due to HMG “open house ” policy ( anything goes ) Amazon is thinking of launching services here using BT/Virgin Media lines and severely under cutting them to establish a hold on the market . The USA are too wise to let them run rampart there so its UK/Germany first. I would not be surprised if they tried to buy BT (eventually ) with I am sure HMG approval as its an American company not British and you can take it as read they wont be supplying services the the Highlands of Scotland /Welsh valley,s etc only high profit areas . As you are in Edinburgh Alfa I think you will be okay for Z Amazon . Google has started up a company called FIBER (Google ) in the USA and tried to “negotiate with London broadband provider City Fibre – talks broke down ( I dont blame City Fibre ) . So , lookout for a complete take-over by the USA of British entertainment in the future , happily I will be dead ( cant stand US “hero ” films /US ruling the world films etc ) .

Member

It was announced on 30 July that BT had offered to deliver broadband to at least 10 Mbps to anywhere in the UK no matter how remote at a cost of £600 million. The culture secretary is considering whether to accept this offer and drop the Universal Service Obligation. Different technologies will be employed according to location to ensure comprehensive coverage.

Member

I should have mentioned that the £600 million is the cost to BT, not a government contribution. BT’s payback would come from the traffic it carries so perhaps they are either going to charge the content providers more for the services they carry [which will be reflected in the bundle prices], or going to charge subscribers more for broadband. This is all rather opaque at the moment.

Edit: You read it here first!

Member

As I and others have said the entertainment companies should be making a significant contribution to the cost of providing decent broadband services.

The internet service providers should be charging according to both download speed and usage so that they can contribute to the cost of improving services. Heavy users of broadband can mean slower speeds for other users, and this problem is likely to grow. Energy companies don’t generally offer unlimited electricity and gas, I suggest that unlimited broadband tariffs are phased out. One benefit of charging according to usage is that those who are low users because they don’t use video etc. can benefit from a fast service at an affordable price.

Member

Exactly Ian- it is rapidly becoming an essential service. We can’t even get the basics here some days. The other day our speed was a breath taking 0.02mbps! TV on demand for us is currently a practical impossibility.

Member

At that rate you would be better on an old fashioned dial-up service.