Photo: Ellis Hamburger
Comcast, the largest provider of cable internet in the country, announced that if you’re one of their 40 million home subscribers in major metropolitan areas, you can now purchase a 100 Mbps broadband connection.To put that speed in perspective, you’ll be able to download a feature-length HD movie in about five minutes.
Even if you don’t use Comcast, this watershed moment signifies the beginning of a shift towards better internet speeds for Americans. Verizon FiOS and Google fibre also play a big part in this shift, but aren’t nearly as large as Comcast yet.
The service is called “Extreme 105,” costs a pricey $105.00/month, and unfortunately caps your bandwidth use at 250GB/month.
What does that mean for you, and how does your current connection compare?
Comcast is the largest provider of cable internet in the country, so it means that tons of Americans now have access to super-fast internet at home with their current provider.
Most Americans don’t have a broadband internet connection that exceeds 10 Mbps, but the FCC has been pushing hard for faster speeds to keep the US competitive with other countries that are quickly pulling away (a 100 Mbps connection in Sweden only costs $16.00/month).
Keep your eyes peeled for cheaper and faster internet service coming soon. But until then click below to see what you can do with Comcast’s new speedy connection.
With a super fast broadband connection, you'll be able to download an HD movie in 5 minutes and an album in 3 seconds, according to Comcast's press release.
Blockbuster will definitely be dead by the time people have access to this kind of speed (if it isn't already), and Netflix will be booming even harder.
Pressing play on a streaming video will guarantee you instantaneous HD streaming, no waiting involved.
The 250 GB download cap Comcast imposed will stunt the growth of HD streaming, albeit temporarily.
BitTorrent is an incredibly popular download client and peer-to-peer communications protocol that enables you to download tiny pieces of a big file from many places at once so downloads are incredibly quick.
This way, you are not just downloading from one server. You instead join a swarm of users uploading and downloading simultaneously. So, even if you haven't downloaded the full file yet, you are uploading pieces you have to others.
It may sound complicated, but all you need to know is that downloading using BitTorrent is much faster.
Big companies and corporations will begin using the BitTorrent protocol as the most efficient way to push applications and files out to users. Some companies like Blizzard already use BitTorrent to push out patches for the incredibly popular World of Warcraft series.
According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (which has to approve every video game for sale), 67% of US households play video games, and the number is growing.
Whether you're playing video games online using a computer or using Xbox Live, the experience is about to get even more immersive.
Faster internet means less lag, bigger multiplayer games, and snappier gameplay.
Why buy an expensive graphics card for your computer when you can use a games-on-demand service like OnLive? Get used to hearing the term 'cloud gaming.'
With a service like OnLive, all you need is a computer or TV. OnLive streams game video to your monitor, and you respond using a controller, mouse, or keyboard as if you were playing the game on your computer.
The only difference is, all the intense graphics processing is being handled elsewhere. Controller responsiveness is pretty instantaneous if your network connection is good. More details about OnLive's control responsiveness (latency) are available here.
This same principle can apply to just about any graphics-heavy application.
OnLive delivers games in 720p high definition and can handle up to four wireless controllers and Bluetooth headsets.
The service requires a connection of 3 Mbps or faster, which many Americans still do not have, and also requires that you be within 1000 miles of one of their five data centres around the country.
Say goodbye to game consoles. Cloud gaming is coming.
Think Apple's Time Machine, but in the cloud.
Many amazing online backup services already exist, but your first upload to the service could take days. This is either because you have a large amount of things to back up, or because the service you use throttles your upload to save themselves some bandwidth.
Soon, everybody will use online backup services to incrementally backup their data around the clock. In this way, you'll be able to access all of your files from any computer or mobile device with internet access.
And if your computer breaks or is stolen, it won't take hours upon hours to get all your stuff back from your online backup service.