Bandwidth Requirements for Broadband Distribution of Audiovisual Media Services

EBU TR 079

PSM linear broadcast audiovisual streams are enormous*.

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For the time being, the major share of viewing and listening of PSM content is represented by linear TV and radio services delivered over conventional broadcast networks. Depending on national conditions the ratio between linear and on-demand service consumption of broadcast content currently ranges between 80—95% in favour of linear but with a tendency to increasing on demand consumption.

The debate about future distribution strategies often culminates in statements such as 'the overwhelming trend is that media consumption is shifting to the Internet and IP networks; in the future broadcast networks may no longer be needed.' Whether or not such claims hold true is yet to be seen. It is critically important to  scrutinize whether the exclusive distribution of all PSM content and services, both linear and on-demand, over broadband networks is feasible.

The feasibility of this migration is impacted both by technical and economic aspects. Whilst this report deals primarily with the technical capabilities of broadband networks, economic aspects are briefly touched on, but this topic deserves a separate in-depth analysis.  

*A calculation based on Germany's usage estimates a bandwidth requirement of 76.2 Tbit/s at peak time. This is a huge number.

Keywords: Broadband Distribution, OTT, Internet, Network Topology, Bandwidth Requirement, Peak Demand.