Stream a lot of video? Consider yourself a veritable eco-warrior

Technology & Convergence

Here’s one more reason that streaming video is a good thing: it’s eco-friendly.

The biggest savings is in your carbon footprint… no more running up to the local DVD outlet to pick up a couple of discs, you can just get them online.

Environmental Research Letters says the savings are there whether you buy, rent or just view that DVD.

According to the study, video streaming benefits from relatively more efficient end-user devices than DVD viewing, although much of that savings is lost when accounting for the additional energy from network data transmission. The real green comes in the form of reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Total U.S. 2011 video viewing emitted about 10.5 billion kg of CO2. Shifting all 2011 DVD viewing to video streaming reduces the total CO2 emissions to about 8.6 billion kg and reduces energy use by about 30 petajoules, equal to the primary energy used to meet the electricity demand of nearly 200,000 U.S. households annually.

“Our study suggests that equipment designers and policy makers should focus on improving the efficiency of end-user devices and network transmission energy to curb the energy use from future increases in video streaming,” said study author Arman Shehabi, an engineer from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Such efficiency improvements will be particularly important in the near future, when society is expected to consume far greater quantities of streaming video content compared to today.”

The study looked at four distinct kinds of DVD products: rented DVDs mailed from online vendors, store-rented DVDs, DVDs bought online and DVDs purchased from a brick-and-mortar store.

While video streaming and online rental had similar energy use, renting and buying from a store required significantly more energy, due almost totally to the environmental impact of driving.

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Source: ooyala - May 30, 2014- By Jim O'Neill