Nearly 20 percent of peak hour downstream traffic in North America is used for streaming video over Netflix through a home video game console, representing the most usage of any source, according to a report.
According to independent research by service provider Sandvine Incorporated
, traffic from Netflix accounts for more downstream and overall bandwidth usage than all other sources, at 29.7 and 24.71 percent, respectively. And it is growing: a similar study released in October pegged downstream traffic at only 20.61 percent.
Of that 29.7 percent, the three game consoles that support Netflix (the Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) accounted for the majority of its usage. When combined, consoles accounted for 66.3 percent of the figure, or 19.7 percent of overall downstream usage.
"Even doubters (if there are any left) must now agree that the age of Internet video is upon us," the report says. "Subscribers have clearly embraced the Netflix streaming service, fundamentally altering the Internet landscape."
Users accessing Netflix through a game console (currently Wii, PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360) consume around 2.5 GB of bandwidth per day, the company said.
When broken down by platform, Sony's PlayStation 3 sees the most Netflix usage, at 30.57 percent of its overall downstream. The Xbox 360 follows at 24.94 percent, Windows PCs at 19.55 percent, and Nintendo's Wii at 10.75 percent.
The overall downstream percentages, according to the full report
, are as follows:
1. Netflix - 29.70%
2. HTTP (web pages) - 18.36%
3. YouTube - 11.04%
4. BitTorrent - 10.37%
5. Flash video - 4.88%
These figures are for all of North America as a whole. According to Sandvine, service providers have reported that Netflix usage accounts for as much as 55% of peak time downstream in some regions.
The number of dedicated game consoles supporting Netflix is about to grow: Nintendo announced
its 3DS will offer Netflix support in a future update, and it is widely speculated that Sony's NGP will follow.