I use a USB Data Card for accessing the Internet on my Laptop and the share computer is used as a WiFi Hotspot to Share the Internet Connection with my Apple iPad. While using the iPad most of the time i use the Youtube App to view different videos. Now the main worry i have is how much bill i will have to pay at the end of month because a friend told me that Youtube if viewed for more than 6-8 hours every day would use around 1Gb of bandwidth, is this true? Also if i just open a few videos and then don’t watch them, still does the ISP charge me for loading the videos under Broadband Usage? Please clear some of these questions which are mainly related to Youtube Bandwidth Usage Calculations.
There are millions of Videos uploaded on Youtube by different users and most of these videos are uploaded by the users which were recorded either using their Mobile Phones, Digital Camera’s, Handy Cams, Web Cams etc all of which record in different quality. A average Video file takes around 10Mb space for 1 minute of video stored in it, while this may again differ based on the quality and compression aspects. Now if you view the same video which is of 15 minutes duration uploaded to a video hosting website, the approximate amount of bandwidth you would consume would be around 150Mb. The bandwidth is calculated on the total amount of data downloaded and uploaded from your computer, while in this case the only upload from your end would be the video viewing requests you would put and this normally ranges in a few Mb.
Next you need to understand the Different b/w Downloading & Streaming Video because all the videos which you find on Youtube are the Downloading Videos version where in the video file which is uploaded by the users are downloaded to the computers through the website. This means that when you access a Youtube video page there won’t be much bandwidth usage but when you click on the Play Button and then wait for the video to load, the file is being downloaded to your computer in background which you can also find in the browser’s temporary files folder.
Lets assume that you find a few interesting HD Videos on Youtube and instead of viewing them one by one and waiting for them to load in your web browser, what you actually do is open all these videos in say around 10 different tabs. Press the Play button once for the files to start loading and then press on the Pause button so that the download progress is continued and once its completed at the end you can easily play and view without any issues.
10 Loading Videos * Each 10 Minutes Size * 90Mb[Approx Size] = 900 Mb of data being downloaded to your computer which in turn is counted under the bandwidth usage. Even if you later close all these windows without viewing the videos, the bandwidth is still billed by your ISP because the data was actually downloaded to your computer. This is the same case when you download youtube videos to your computer using any external tools. You need to perform a Speed Test to find out the actually interned speed you are being offered by the ISP because the higher connection speed you have, the quicker these videos would load on your computer.
The main problem is that these days the Internet Service Providers offer their customers with very high speed connections but with limited data downloads, which means that if someone gets a 3Mbps Internet connection they also need to confirm the amount of bandwidth data they can use in a months period because accessing video hosting websites can easily shell up the monthly costs.
According to Wikipedia, the maximum amount of data transfer would be around 300 Kilobits per second. This means that if we calculate this amount in the form of KiloBytes you need to divide it by 8, making this at 300/8 = 37.5 Kbps. Now this means that every second there would be a download of maximum 37.5 Kbps of data to your computer which comes to around 37.5*60 = 2.25Mb/minute or say 2.25 * 60 = 135Mb per hour.
If a video is already downloaded once in your browser and you want to view it again, then you dont have to worry about the bandwidth because the file is already downloaded to your computer and is stored in the cache of the browser. You can also copy the file from these temporary files and save to your PC for future views, in order to bypass the loading time and broadband costs. According to the above estimations it does not mean that you will be charged with 135mb of bandwidth every hour, if you keep the youtube.com website open because this again depends on the quality of the videos and if its some plain cartoon or low graphical version then the size would be lot lower than this, something in the range of around 30-40% only.
Hope all the above listed different points and sample statistics would give you a clear picture on the total broadband bandwidth usage you would get charged for when you view youtube videos online.