Video Biz Energy Use Trends Down ... But Will Soon Spike Anew Thanks to Unicast Streaming

Generic cable set-top
(Image credit: iStock/Getty Images)

The good news: Cord-cutting has diminished the global use of power-hungry pay TV set-top boxes, as well as the grid-taxing network infrastructure these cable, satellite and telco video systems are based on. 

The bad news? While energy consumption by the global video business has ebed a bit recently, it's set to spike anew thanks to the power-intensive nature of unicast streaming, the Rethink Technology Research said. 

The UK research company believes that spike will start at around 2027.

“It appears that our industry is at a turning point when it comes to the energy use required for video distribution and consumption across the world,” the company said in its latest report. “The decline of pay TV -- cable in particular –--and its power-hungry network infrastructure means that for the past few years, the energy consumption of video overall has been tapering downwards.

“However, a rise in OTT video consumption means that streaming infrastructure is scaling up, while viewing is fragmenting across a broadening range of consumer electronics,” Rethink's report added. “Both trends are creating demand for energy that has already overtaken that of pay TV networks, and will soon begin to reverse the downward slope of the current global energy requirements for video distribution and consumption.”

(Image credit: Rethink Technology Research)
Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!