Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Voot, HBO Go, Apple TV+, Disney TV+ have more than 600 million subscribers globally. These video streaming services generate 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in a year which is nearly 1 % of global carbon dioxide emissions.
TV broadcasting transmitters use a lot of power to deliver TV signals directly to a huge number of people but streaming video requires more tools, equipment, energy because it is one to one service, not one to many.
When we click on 'next episode' of our favourite series on Netflix, amazon prime, Hotstar etc the request goes to a huge data centre full of computers, which sends the video file. In the case of Phone the video may be sent over a cellular network or in case of Wi-Fi router the signal is sent to a box before it reaches our laptops.
Streaming site Netflix is responsible for 34% of emissions alone, followed by pornography websites at 27%, Youtube & other streaming services are responsible for the rest 39%.
Digital technologies produce 4% of greenhouse gas emissions. This percentage will keep on increasing even if we use renewable power to stop emissions. Using the internet less is not going to help because most equipment uses the same energy no matter how much data flows through it. Currently, it seems like that energy demand & greenhouse gas emissions will keep on rising because of video streaming services. Something to consider when we click through to the next episode of our favourite web shows.
Estimated energy usage from watching videos on YouTube:
• Youtube servers: 400 GWh
• International & national network: 1900 GWh
• Local Network: 4400 GWh
• User Devices: 6100 GWh
• Cellular mobile network: 8600 GWh