Netflix, Amazon Prime, other OTT users, your binge watching sessions are leading to global warming, suggests new study

By: |
September 11, 2020 2:12 PM

The study further took a look at the data volumes for different resolutions.

The research has been conducted by the German central environmental agency.The research has been conducted by the German central environment authority.

Video streaming carbon footprint: A research conducted by the German central environment agency has found that video streamed in HD quality emits different levels of carbon depending on the technology of transmission. The initial research findings have found that the lowest carbon content is emitted when the HD videos are streamed over fibre optic connections at home. In this case, only two grams of carbon dioxide is emitted for every hour of video streaming for the data centre and data transmission, the German Environment Agency said in a statement.

Apart from that, HD-quality video streaming over a copper cable or VDSL leads to generation of four grams of CO2 an hour, while streaming over 3G or UTMS data transmission produces as much as 90 grams of CO2 for every hour. On the other hand, if 5G is being used as transmission technology to transmit the data, the resultant emission of CO2 is about five grams per hour, the statement added. The statement further said that the calculation has not factored in the electricity that the end device uses.

The statement quoted German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze as saying that till now, the data on impact of digital infrastructure on the climate was “extremely sparse”. This was the reason why the agency decided to work on bridging the gap in this regard with research, since good policy needs the base of good data, she added. She further stated that with these new findings, it has been brought to fore that streaming data without harming the environment is possible if it is done right and the data transmission is done using the right method.

She further said that from the perspective of the environment, setting up more public WiFi hotspots would be more environment friendly than using mobile networks to stream videos. In fact, the benefits of working from home and video conferencing could be increased further if the right methods of transmission and more efficient data centres are used, she added. She asserted that her aim was to capitalise on the German EU Council Presidency in order for all the EU member countries to reach a common position regarding environmental friendly digitalisation, since setting good standards across the continent would be the best approach, according to her.

German Environment Agency President Dirk Messner was quoted by the statement as saying that while the findings are good news for movie and series buffs, the volumes of data would grow steadily over the coming years, which is why it would be important to find transmission channels that are more environment friendly. Dirk added that as per the research, countries should step up and expand fibre optic networks, further saying that the 5G transmission technology also seems promising.

The study further took a look at the data volumes for different resolutions. Ultra-HD resolution on a TV needs data transmission ten times that as HD quality. Therefore, if users watched videos at a lower resolution, it would lead to lesser emission of carbon dioxide. On small screen devices, this change in resolution would not even be significantly perceptible to the human eye, the statement advocated.

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