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How does computer screen size impact bandwidth usage and data caps?

Last response: in Networking
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February 17, 2013 2:55:02 PM

Do larger computer screens use more data?

Or is it just a matter of screen resolution?

Is there a difference between large, small, laptops, and tablets in bandwidth consumption if all the screens were set to a resolution of 1024 x768?

Anybody understand the issue and be willing to explain it a bit to me. Thanks.
February 19, 2013 12:48:04 PM

Screen size doesn't make a difference. It's the resolution that you run that screen at that makes a difference. A 600x480 video will consume less bandwidth than a 1920x1080 video viewed on the same screen.

600 x 480 = 288,000 pixels that need to be displayed

1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels that need displayed
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February 20, 2013 3:35:04 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
Screen size doesn't make a difference. It's the resolution that you run that screen at that makes a difference. A 600x480 video will consume less bandwidth than a 1920x1080 video viewed on the same screen.

600 x 480 = 288,000 pixels that need to be displayed

1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels that need displayed



Thanks.

Does that mean that lowering your monitor's resolution will lower bandwidth consumption? And are you also saying that streaming youtube on your phone consumes the same bandwidth as on your computer screen if both monitor and phone screen resolutions are equal?
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February 20, 2013 4:39:10 PM

I have to disagree with Hawkeye22, nothing personal, but he got the answer wrong. (Sorry)

It doesn't matter on network bandwidth what size, OR resolution you run your screen at. Period, end of story.

What impacts your bandwidth is the size of the files being transferred, and the speed / congestion of the various network components along the route.

Try it yourself. Set your resolution to 648x480 and do a streaming test on youtube. Then change your resolution to 1280x1024 for example and rerun the test. The results should be exactly the same, or at least close enough to take into consideration the huge variation in load that Youtube has...

Your screen size, and resolution are all handled by the video controller card, which has very little to do with the network.

Now having said all of this. IF you chose to stream a larger resolution file instead of a lower resolution file, then YES you will suck up more bandwidth.
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February 20, 2013 5:13:50 PM

dbhosttexas said:
I have to disagree with Hawkeye22, nothing personal, but he got the answer wrong. (Sorry)

It doesn't matter on network bandwidth what size, OR resolution you run your screen at. Period, end of story.

What impacts your bandwidth is the size of the files being transferred, and the speed / congestion of the various network components along the route.


Higher resolution = larger file size since it has to hold more data for more pixels.

I'd say we're both half right. ;) 
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February 20, 2013 6:18:58 PM

Higher resolution files take more space, therefore consume more bandwidth, yes. I just didn't want the OP thinking that just browsing the web or whatever with a bigger monitor would suck up more bandwidth than a smaller monitor.

Gaming online, and streaming videos at higher resolutions are the areas where higher bandwidth uses leap to mind. But that is the effect of pulling larger files to support the higher resolution.

Oh heck my attempts to clarify this might just be muddying it up some. Never mind...
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February 20, 2013 6:22:22 PM

dbhosttexas said:
I have to disagree with Hawkeye22, nothing personal, but he got the answer wrong. (Sorry)

It doesn't matter on network bandwidth what size, OR resolution you run your screen at. Period, end of story.

What impacts your bandwidth is the size of the files being transferred, and the speed / congestion of the various network components along the route.

Try it yourself. Set your resolution to 648x480 and do a streaming test on youtube. Then change your resolution to 1280x1024 for example and rerun the test. The results should be exactly the same, or at least close enough to take into consideration the huge variation in load that Youtube has...

Your screen size, and resolution are all handled by the video controller card, which has very little to do with the network.

Now having said all of this. IF you chose to stream a larger resolution file instead of a lower resolution file, then YES you will suck up more bandwidth.


dbhosttexas:

Thank you for the reply!

Everything you said makes sense. It is hard to accurate information on this topic and google searches on the topic yield surprisingly little. I understand that streaming is just basically downloading information too, and I get your point of your last sentence, which means if you watch Netflix on HD streaming setting versus the lower tier resolution, you suck up more bandwidth.

What I am having trouble trying to figure out is whether or not internet activity on your phone sucks up more bandwidth than your PC desktop. I understand if you download a 20 mb file -- it is the same size and the same bandwidth consumption regardless if it is your phone or PC. Where I am getting tripped up is does regular browsing on your phone consume as much bandwidth?

I have a 2 GB data cap on my cell phone and I can tether if I want. I am wondering if tethering to my laptop uses bandwidth faster than doing the same activity just on the phone.
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February 20, 2013 6:25:15 PM

dbhosttexas said:
Higher resolution files take more space, therefore consume more bandwidth, yes. I just didn't want the OP thinking that just browsing the web or whatever with a bigger monitor would suck up more bandwidth than a smaller monitor.

Gaming online, and streaming videos at higher resolutions are the areas where higher bandwidth uses leap to mind. But that is the effect of pulling larger files to support the higher resolution.

Oh heck my attempts to clarify this might just be muddying it up some. Never mind...



No worries. You are only helping. So okay with bigger monitor, so long as you set the resolution lower?
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February 20, 2013 7:09:00 PM

jdSx said:
dbhosttexas:
What I am having trouble trying to figure out is whether or not internet activity on your phone sucks up more bandwidth than your PC desktop.


This may be hard to answer. Some of it depends on the web site too. Youtube (and other sites) can detect if you are using a mobile browser and act accordingly (lower the resolution or bit rate). The thing is mobile speeds are getting to be as fast as home connections. I don't know if that is now being taken into account.

The point I was trying to make earlier is that the resolution of the video has a direct relationship to file size. As stated earlier, Higher resolution = Larger file size, thus requires more bandwidth.
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February 20, 2013 7:45:44 PM

Hawkeye22 & dbhosttexas

you two are great.

thanks for all the feedback.

mobile sites definitely eat less bandwidth, as well as non-HD vs HD. phones are smaller, resolution smaller, and less screen size for advertisements, so probably doesn't suck as much bandwidth.



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February 21, 2013 1:24:23 PM

Hawkeye gave you a great answer on the phone thing. A lot of sites provide "mobile" versions that are designed to be slimmer, smaller graphics etc... and consume less bandwidth, but not all... Overall yes, browsing from your phone should use less bandwidth than say browsing from your desktop. It's a function of the site and the browser though, not the display...

I built a web page years ago that had a version optimized for dialup users, and a version optimized for broadband (richer media, higher bandwidth usage). This has gotten to be common practice but now it is mostly for mobile / broadband instead...
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February 22, 2013 11:07:56 PM

thanks!
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!