Netflix has become a platform where people can binge-watch anytime and anywhere. Movie nights have become easier now with the ease of streaming services. Consumers are introduced to diversified content and countless reasons for them to binge-watch.
There are experts who have recently discovered that this mass-consumer magnet is a threat to our environment. It comes with the cost of the environment that we believe will sustain us throughout. It has been proven that a “half-hour streaming of Netflix leads to emissions of 1.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent” says Maxime Efoui-Hess of French think tank the Shift Project.
According to the Shift project Spain produces CO2 which is equivalent to the emission produced and the hind side is, the emission amount might double in the next six years. Nearly. 34 percent of the online traffic is achieved due to streaming videos, on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu and online porn.
“Digital videos come in very large file sizes and (are) getting bigger with each new generation of higher-definition video,” said Gary Cook of Greenpeace, which monitors the IT sector’s energy footprint”. He also goes on to add that the data that we as consumer produce after streaming videos consumes more energy to maintain a system that is ready to stream on every other consumer’s device.
Much of the consumption of energy is consumed by the data center, which delivers data to your computer or device. Henceforth, the center contributes about 0.3 percent of all carbon emissions as mentioned in an article by Nature.
There is no solid count regarding the increase in the growth of emissions. There should be a significant improvement in the IT sectors for the energy consumption to grow flat for the next 10 years as pointed out by Dale Sartor of the Center of Expertise for Data Centers, linked to the US Department of Energy.
Huawei Technologies Anders Andrae told AFP that their estimate consumption of global electricity by 2030 will be 4.1 percent.
There are possibilities of web-based video traffic to increase four times from 2017 to 2022 and account for 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2022, according to the CISCO Network. The company (Netflix) reported that due to the global expansion of their brand there are possibilities of a 53 percent increase in international revenue for streaming subscriptions between 2017 and 2018. Techno giants such as Disney and Apple are launching their own streaming services this year. The equipment used to view videos is getting larger and the average screen size shot up from 22 inches in the year 1997 to an expected 50 inches by 2021, as reported by the Consumer Technology Association.
The file sizes according to Cook have increased to large due to an increase in the screen size. About 30 percent of the energy is consumed by the screens with a larger screen size which is with 4K resolution as reported by Natural Resources Defense Council. The consequences of such upgradations are a “waste of resources at all levels”, adds Laurent Lefevre of the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation.
Viewers, therefore, should stream their videos in low definition, disable autoplay and stream over Wi-Fi as suggested by experts. They also added that the worst-case scenario is watching over a 3G connection on a mobile device, says Lefevre.
The Shift Project helps in monitoring internet usage, checks the CO2 that electricity produces and how far the user would have to drive to match those emissions.