Why did the 2019 movie streaming service still charge different SD and HD resolution videos? - VnReview
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Why did the 2019 movie streaming service still charge different SD and HD resolution videos? – VnReview


Currently, most online movie streaming services still offer paid packages at different prices for SD and HD resolution videos. However, when 4K resolution videos are becoming more popular and no longer "rare", is the "discrimination" between SD and HD video still reasonable? Should movie streaming services continue to "split" the video resolution into different product segments?

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Despite the rise of 4K resolution videos and increasing internet speeds, online streaming services are still "discriminating" between standard definition video (SD). ) and high resolution video (HD), let alone 4K! In fact there are many movie streaming services, such as Amazon, YouTube and Vudu, which still consider SD and HD video resolution as two separate products. With the same film, the companies still distribute the SD and HD resolution versions at different prices. Strangely, even Netflix considers video resolution as a bargain for users: the Netflix "Basic" package doesn't even allow users to watch movies in Full HD 1080p resolution. If you want to watch 4K movies, the monthly fee is even more expensive!

At the present time, most users can still easily "ignore" this classification of firms. In fact, this approach has been going on for a long time, and there are also quite a lot of people willing to "save" $ 1 to $ 2 per month, in return they can only watch movies in SD resolution. But are movie streaming service providers "turning" users by offering low-resolution video packages at a "soft" price? Aren't companies going to have to invest a lot more money to store and provide an extra copy of video at SD resolution for users? And with the popularity of 4K resolution at the present time, why vendors do not consider HD resolution videos to be a mandatory (and lowest) "standard" in terms of quality video stream , and then provide 4K resolution as a premium option that users need to spend more to upgrade?

The difference between SD and HD when the movie stream is not the same as between DVD and Blu-ray

When Walmart supermarket chain started displaying shelves filled with DVDs and Blu-ray movies Toy Story 3, this supermarket has a reason to sell these two discs at different prices. The reason is simple: Blu-ray discs cost more to produce than DVDs. Not to mention, both products cost store space to display, and Blu-ray display shelves will generally be more convenient and "valuable" than shelves to display DVDs.

Some people use this logical logic to reason with the case of the digital movie streaming services mentioned in the previous section of the article. However, the truth is not so simple. We agree that we can consider the film-containing hard drives installed in the servers of movie streaming services as store shelves, but movie streaming services will not store SD and HD resolution copies. As separate items, the fact that you bought a higher-end item does not mean that you naturally own the same item but lower quality. For example, even if you buy an HD movie package, however, if the quality of your home Internet connection is weak, your service provider may still be able to play you SD resolution video to prevent experience interruption. Watch user movies (also called video buffers).

You remember the time when most of us kept watching video online for a while and had to stop to wait for the video buffer (because the network speed at that time was not enough to preload the entire contents of the video). However, today, it is no longer popular, because every movie streaming service will store both copies of SD and HD resolution of the same movie, so that in case your Internet connection is of quality well, they can transfer you from high resolution video to lower resolution video, to prevent "video buffer" status.

YouTube has no trouble storing videos

Let's do a comparison between YouTube (free streaming service, offering 4K resolution options) with some popular paid online movie streaming sites. Each minute passed, there were about 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube (you can observe this process in real time at the site with everysecond.io address). Doing simple math, we see the above figure is equivalent to 300.00 hours of new video content uploaded to YouTube every hour. For comparison, the entire Amazon Prime Video video library in 2017 only has a total duration of about 19,200 hours.

Obviously, YouTube needs a lot of storage. But there is also another factor that we cannot help but mention. In 2013, there was a group of YouTube engineers "posting" explaining that every YouTube video was automatically converted and copied into dozens of video versions with format and resolution (1080p, 720p, etc) different, to make sure the site can work well with all devices and every user's Internet connection speed. When comparing this with an amazingly large YouTube video library, this approach will require "huge" free hard drive space.

So do the fee-based movie streaming services copy a video into multiple files with different formats and resolutions? The answer is no. All modern web browsers support a number of extremely popular video encoding methods (and high compression rates), such as HTML5, H.264 and WebM VP8. Naturally, most (if not all) fee-based movie streaming services use one of these popular formats.

Taking up storage space is not a good reason for movie stream service providers to "capture" users to pay more to be able to watch movies at more resolutions. If a free service like YouTube can still provide users with 4K content regardless of how much they "consume" the server hard drive, why does Amazon ask users to pay an extra $ 1 to get it? can watch movies Toy Story 3 in 1080p resolution? And why does Netflix also offer subscription packages with different prices for SD and HD videos? If you can watch a product review video on YouTube at 4K resolution without spending a dime? So why pay more to "watch" HD movies on paid streaming services?

The actual cost of distributing content is not too expensive

As analyzed above, fee-based movie streaming services cannot take the reason that expensive web hosting and hard drive prices are the reason they offer SD and HD resolution video at different prices. So is the cost to distribute HD resolution videos from web servers to users' computers more expensive than SD video distribution, so are they selling SD subscription packages at lower prices?

Of course not. Movie streaming services operate through Content Delivery Networks (CDN for short) and Open Connect Appliances (OCA for short), which significantly reduces the cost. fees and complexity of transmission and distribution of HD content. The terminology at first sounds very abstract and confusing, but the way they work is very simple.

"Traffic" on the Internet (the exact term is Internet traffic) is actually no different from our daily street traffic. If everyone tried to "squeeze" into a street to go, it would cause traffic congestion, and the vehicles would have to move very slowly. The same thing happens with websites. To solve this problem, movie stream services build lazy CDN networks. CDN is a network of heavily distributed servers across the globe, all of which contain the same content and data. You can imagine them as different paths but leading to a place. As a result, Netflix does not "collapse" every time a movie season Stranger Things New to the audience.

The OCA operates similarly to CDNs, but they are built to prevent "traffic congestion" on the entire Internet system, not just on a single website. Like the CDN, the OCA also stores copies of the same huge video library and is distributed around the world. The biggest difference is that CDN is operated by your Internet service provider (ISP). When the whole neighborhood you open your computer to watch a movie season Stranger Things new, your Internet service provider will redirect your access to a nearby CDN instead of direct access to the Netflix server; Since then, fans of this series can enjoy it freely without fear of network congestion.

Of course, CDN and OCA networks cost a lot to maintain and operate. However, you can consider them as part of the "Internet infrastructure", which is the system that "must be built", whether it is for streaming movies or for any other work. However, "investment has already invested", so the price of distribution of HD content can also be "negotiated" (between service providers and ISPs, etc.) to be equal. with SD video. However, paid streaming video services still want to "charge" SD and HD video for different prices, and 4K is another story.

Or is the content licensing fee the cause?

Movie streaming services cannot give a specific reason to explain the price difference between SD and HD video. They had enough storage space to store several versions with different resolutions of the same video, and the content delivery system could hardly cost the service providers a single dollar.

It's hard to find the exact reason why movie streaming services offer SD and HD video at different prices, but the answer may lie in the strange relationship between television companies and movie streaming service company. In a post on Reddit since 2016, a group of YouTube users questioned why some of the movies and HD TV shows sold by YouTube can only stream at a resolution of 480p (not even reached yet). any HD standard). Turns out, underneath the movies and this show has a small line of disclaimer: "HD resolution is not available on web browsers".

So why can't we watch HD movies on a web browser? One of the TV shows encountered this problem Silicon Valley, owned by HBO. YouTube may have bought the rights to sell HD copies of this TV show to mobile device users, but not licensed by HBO to stream online movies in HD resolution. The reasoning behind seems quite understandable: users will spend money to buy HBO GO subscription if they can do it if they can go to YouTube. Silicon Valley in HD resolution?

It can also be a problem in this business that also applies to many other services. Netflix may incur additional costs if you want to purchase a license to project the HD version of the series Friendsand Amazon also has to pay more to get a license Toy Story 3 HD version? Then, the license to show 4K content is even more expensive!

Is this reason silly? Definitely yes. Movie streaming services and television companies are watching different resolution videos as different items, and they force users to suffer the consequences. What annoys us is that companies don't seem to know that the 4K wave is becoming more and more popular. About 108 million people are considering buying 4K TVs in 2019, don't they believe users will be willing to pay an extra $ 2 to watch 4K movies on their 4K screens?

Does any company charge extra for 4K videos?

Some people are willing to pay an extra $ 1 to watch videos in 4K resolution. If you have spent a huge amount of money to buy a beautiful TV, then why save without buying the highest quality content to watch on it?

Overall, the 4K standard is still new and attractive to most people. However, paying more to upgrade from low-resolution SD video to HD in 2019 is still an absurdity. Better yet, at this point, HD standards should be considered by the movie streaming service as "low resolution version", completely replacing SD.

Examples of YouTube are probably things that make it hard for users to "ignore" and "forgive". If YouTube can distribute 4K videos for free to users, then why do we have to pay more to watch 4K movies on online streaming video platforms?

Not all companies charge a higher fee for watching 4K movies

Up to the present time, the future seems quite "bright". Google Play, YouTube and Apple offer a number of movies and TV shows in only 4K resolution, and that is the standard version. Amazon is also working to bring 4K videos to Prime subscriber users without making them pay any additional fees. But at the same time, companies still suffer criticism because of different charges between SD and HD video. Netflix even provides only 4K content for users who register their highest level of subscription.

Quang Huy (Refer to Howtogeek)


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