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Netflix on consoles tops bandwidth tables

Console access accounts for 20.6% of downstream traffic in US and Canada

Streaming video service Netflix, as accessed through a home console, accounts for almost 20 per cent of peak downstream traffic in North America, according to a new report.

Independent figures released by service provider Sandvine Incorporated show that total Netflix traffic represents 29.7 per cent of overall bandwidth use in North America - rising to as much as 55 per cent in some regions.

The figure shows a considerable increase from only last October, when the percentage was 20.6 per cent.

Netflix continues to be available only in the US and Canada, with plans to expand to the UK shelved in 2004. Nevertheless, the company's total number of subscribers now stands at 23.6 million, of which 800,000 are in Canada.

The second largest user of bandwidth is ordinary HTTP web pages, at 18.4 per cent, followed by YouTube (11.0 per cent), BitTorrent (10.4 per cent), and Flash video (4.9 per cent).

The majority of Netflix access is achieved via home consoles, with usage via the Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 alone accounting for 20.61 per cent. The remaining access to the service is primarily via personal computers, set-top boxes and some Blu-ray players and televisions.

The PlayStation 3 is the most popular individual format for access at 30.6 per cent, followed by the Xbox 360 at 24.9 per cent, Windows PCs at 19.6 per cent and the Wii at 10.8 per cent.

The average home console owner uses 2.5GB of bandwidth per day, more than twice the 1GB average of other Netflix users. Currently no portable devices support Netflix, although the 3DS has already announced plans to do so in the future.

The full report can be read at the Sandvine website (warning: PDF).