YouTube Quietly, But Publicly, Shaming ISPs That Make Your Video Streams Stutter

from the good-for-them dept

For years, people have wondered if one of the best tools to prevent ISPs from behaving too badly in breaking net neutrality would just be public shaming. Netflix has long released data on ISP performance, and then got into some hot water last month when it started directly blaming ISPs for network congestion, leading Verizon to send a cease-and-desist letter. Quartz is reporting that YouTube has been doing something similar, though it's not quite as in-your-face as the Netflix example. If the connection is weak, YouTube displays a blue bar beneath the video, with the words "Experiencing Interruptions?" in white:
Click on the "Find out why" link and you get taken to Google's "Video Quality Report" which tells you some information about your ISP and how congested the network is (or, at least sometimes -- in my case, it tells me it doesn't have enough information about my provider, which happens to be Sonic.net, to determine any results).

Of course, all the public shaming in the world isn't going to matter much if ISPs are free to clog up interconnection points and you have no real competition to go to.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 3:33pm

    But you see, allowing TWC and Comcast to merge would be a good thing for consumers because

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 3:53pm

    I'd like an explanation for why it re-buffers data when you use the seek bar/position slider.

    Try it; Let the video fully buffer, meaning the entire bar is gray, then click slightly ahead in the video. The slider will jump to that position, the gray bar from that point to the end will disappear and then it will re-download from there to the end of the video.

    It's an incredibly inefficient system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:06pm

    Re:

    DRM is the reason.

    For the license holders to 'allow' them to play some videos they want them to only allow the part you are watching to be available.

    It does not matter that this makes zero fucking technical sense its all about the DRM feels.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Phoenix84 (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:29pm

    What about other bandwidth?

    So what about other concurrent bandwidth usage (ie. Netflix/Downloads)?
    I will watch Youtube while someone else is either watching Netflix, or downloading.
    I have on occasion seen that blue bar.

    Will that negatively affect my ISP's ratings?

    I actually have a decent local ISP. I don't want them to get unwarranted negative ratings due to my pipe being filled of my own accord.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Phoenix84 (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re:

    Many years ago it didn't.
    Once it was downloaded, it was done. This was also true of prebuffering in general.

    Lately I've noticed most videos won't prebuffer the entire amount anymore. Only about 30-60 seconds or so, no matter how long you leave it to buffer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:38pm

    Re: What about other bandwidth?

    Given that they are averaging this across all the users in your area per ISP, I'm not sure you should worry that much. Every ISP everywhere has some heavy bandwidth users that will affect the averages, and that's normal.

    What I found kind of amusing was that Hughes Net in my area was relegated to "Low Definition", but the graphs actually showed a higher percentage of HD viewers than ISPs in the "Standard Definition" section. I did notice the graph had a lot of spikes on it though, so I'm guessing the number of users using Hughes Net was significantly lower than others with nicely smoothed curves in the graph, and that is penalizing them.

    Satellite internet is terrible for lots of things, but streaming video (as long as you don't mind the initial latency), seems like it would be a good fit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:39pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Pretty sure that's Youtube making sure they're not sending data that nobody is watching.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:45pm

    Wonderful!!!!

    This is what the ISP's got themselves into. If your going to bill both ends of a service, then expect them to want to get the service they are paying for.

    GOOD JOB GOOGLE/YOUTUBE and NETFLIX. KEEP IT UP!

    I am tired of my 11mb down connection that I get for the bargain price of $80.00 a month going down to 500k and then having the ISP tell me "well, 500k is technically UP TO 11mbps"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 4:58pm

    Maybe YouTube should start living life in the fast lane. *Yuk Yuk* I'm joking. Double dip price gouging should be illegal under Title II classification for telecommunication providers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 5:20pm

    DSL, cable or other

    ...at least sometimes -- in my case, it tells me it doesn't have enough information about my provider, which happens to be Sonic.net, to determine any results

    One bit of information what would be useful is whether the provider's connection is DSL, cable or other.

    From the methodology page, I think they are measuring download speed ("Response Size(R)/Response Time(R)").

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 5:36pm

    Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 5:47pm

    Re:

    I'd like an explanation for why it re-buffers data when you use the seek bar/position slider.


    They changed it about a year ago, but there are ways to disable it:

    http://www.cnet.com/how-to/return-to-youtubes-old-way-of-buffering-full-videos/
    http://www.pcworld .com/article/2048105/force-youtube-to-buffer-your-entire-video.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Casey, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 6:24pm

    Re: Re:

    It has nothing to do with that. Videos are just as easy to steal now as they were then. That was all Google's decision. Probably to save bandwidth.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 6:27pm

    As if

    This has what to do with copyright?

    Also, evidence for your claim about Mike Masnick would be interesting. (If not non-existent.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Casey, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 6:30pm

    Pre-Buffering

    None of this was an issue before Google disabled pre-buffering. Even now if you enable pre-buffering, a lot of times the problems will just magically go away. If your connection is really slow you can at least let it buffer a while and not have to put up with it starting/stopping all the time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Casey, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 6:37pm

    Re:

    It's not as inefficient as you would think. A lot of people will load a video just to watch a small piece of it. Only buffering a small piece of the video saves a ton of bandwidth. Especially since the time limit is significantly longer than it used to be back when pre-buffering enabled. But Google's decision to change the buffering method did break Youtube for some people and no matter how many times Google blames the ISPs, the blame is still Google's.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 7:24pm

    Interesting. I watched the video in the example last night. It led me to another full ½ hour video of fireworks in Japan labelled as the best Japan had to offer.

    To the troll, this has nothing to do with copyright by any major label/studio as it was privately and independently filmed. It shows you spend no time reading to support your claims and therefore lowers your creditability to nil. It gives us all a good laugh at the idiocy put on display. You do your cause far more damage here by your thoughtless replies than anything we could say.

    The ISPs have brought this on themselves, through their greed of wanting everyone to pay and then pay extra for nothing that should have already been included in the base price of the package bought. Overselling the resources and showing it can be eliminated also shows willful interference with network congestion.

    I have nothing but respect for those companies attempting to show the users exactly where the issue is. The FCC appears to be corrupt enough that they can't really bite the bullet and do the right thing. This is the next best option to show the issue right out there where you can see it.

    No wonder we are steadily going downhill in speed vs expense compared to the rest of the global internet access.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 10:26pm

    Re: As if

    It's just a robot that appears whenever Google is mentioned in an article.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jul 7th, 2014 @ 10:40pm

    Re: Re: As if

    And often even when it's not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jul 8th, 2014 @ 12:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Videos are just as easy to steal now as they were then."

    That have absolutely nothing to do with what the **AAs demand. The DRM can be unworkable, actively prevent legal customers from purchasing or using the content and still not prevent a single instance of piracy. But they'll still insist upon it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 3:05am

    Funny, I got this message on my own ISP a couple days ago. I run my own BGP so I know I'm not the problem.

    Youtube is the problem and they blame me... just like Netflix did.

    How nice to see the fake transparency of the monolithic dinosaurs, blaming others for their shortcomings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jul 8th, 2014 @ 3:44am

    Re: Re:

    This is incredibly stupid specially when on a cellphone. I wonder if I can force it on mobile too?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 4:51am

    Re: Re:

    Citation please? I want to know whether this is a rant or if you can link me to some evidence that DRM is the reason videos need to rebuffer when seeking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 8:07am

    Re:

    average_joe and Whatever just hate it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    TestPilotDummy, Jul 8th, 2014 @ 9:07am

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha, Um What did He Say Doc?

    Sticks and Stones my friend.
    Seems you have some copyright glitches of your own.

    wtf happened to the X22 Report recently (ahem) we never did find out WHY you yanked that channel.

    Who else had glitches recently?
    Hagman and Hagman
    WRH


    Yeah, let's see the FACTS shall we?
    (Non-abbreviated version please)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 10th, 2014 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re:

    Thanks for the explanation and the links. I'll be trying that as soon as I finish replying. Of course it probably won't work in the older version of Firefox that I use. I've held off upgrading because I absolutely hate a lot of the changes Mozilla has been making. With each new release, they take out features and impose new ones that few people like.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Techdirt Reading List
Advertisement
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Support Techdirt - Get Great Stuff!

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.