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Broadband in Europe is 'well developed' compared to USA

Tuesday, January 13th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Broadband bandwidth in Europe is “well developed” and faster on average than the United States, according to streaming platform creator Roku.

Mike Duin, the firm’s director of communications for Europe, said bandwidth requirements for high definition services are not “outrageous” and streaming systems have developed to be suitable for various speeds.

Streaming platform Roku creates players and a streaming USB stick, as well as licensing its designs and operating system to TV manufacturers and Pay TV providers around the world.

At last week’s International CES, the company announced plans to support 4K Ultra HD streaming for future Roku TV models, starting with manufacturer TCL, as well as plans to work with Netflix to provide 4K.

Mr Duin said methods like adaptive bit-rate streaming – which changes the streaming rate depending on the speeds available – meant people with slower broadband speeds would not suffer from a poorer experience.

Speaking to Cable.co.uk at CES, he said: “I actually think for an HD stream from a service, you don’t even need too much bandwidth. It’s not outrageous.

“I think bandwidth in Europe is so well developed. Actually bandwidth in Europe on average – or western Europe – is on average actually faster or higher speeds than the US.

“You would say it’s the other way round but it’s not.”

Mr Duin said people’s speeds would depend on where they lived, such as in rural areas of the UK, but he said services now are billed “in a way that it can basically work on any connection”.

He added: “There are technologies like adaptive streaming and it basically sees how much bandwidth there is and leverages that.

“And of course you’re not going to get the best possible image quality then but it’s going to stream and it’s not going to buffer all the time.

“So you could say in the past video services would say, ‘you want to watch this in HD’, and it was going to try and broadcast it to you in HD all the time and then you end up when there is just not enough bandwidth that it starts buffering.

“And now it just says, ‘we have it in HD but let’s see what fits in the pipe’.

“It starts maybe in 720p and when there is enough bandwidth it scales up.

“And you don’t have to do anything about it and a lot of people won’t even see it”

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