Probably everyone has this confusion regarding the amount of data consumed while downloading videos from YouTube and streaming them online respectively. Some believe that both of these processes consume the same amount of data, while others believe that data consumption is different in both the processes. This is a never ending debate with each faction having their own explanations and reasons for supporting their view. Let’s try and get to the bottom of this confusion and arrive at a conclusion.
When you download YouTube videos, you get the option of selecting the resolution and based on your selection, the file size is determined. An HD file will obviously have a larger size as compared to one with a lower resolution. So when it comes to downloading a video file, the size gets fixed according to the selected resolution. Make sure that you keep this consideration in mind before making any comparison related to speed or data consumption.
Basically both streaming and downloading consume almost the same amount of data. It is an obvious understanding because once you fix the resolution for the video file, the file size gets fixed also. However, streaming a video on YouTube might require a little more data as compared to the downloaded file. This is due to the constant interchange of data between the online video player and server which is done to accommodate packet errors, buffers, etc. The size of this “extra” data is very small, to the point that it can easily be considered insignificant. For example, the extra bandwidth for a 1 Mb/s video would come out to be between 10 kbits/s and 20 kbits/s.
Apart from the very minor difference in data consumption, both streaming and downloading consume the same amount of data. During streaming, the file’s data is directed to the browser’s cache while during download, the file is directed to the storage location specified by you. Once the file is downloaded, you can view is over and over again without the need for any part to be downloaded again. However, in the case of streaming, some part of the video might have to be downloaded in the cache again if it is lost.