minimal size youtube videos

My previous approach to saving bandwidth on youtube videos was to request the lowest-resolution versions possible.

That is a simple approach but leaves some MB on the table.  The absolute lowest bandwidth video is achieved by picking the lowest bitrate audio and video even if they occur in separate files.

Consider this 42min video about the history of helicopters.

# request lowest resolution first
# youtube-dl -f '160/278/133/18/22' [url]
196940618 World_s_First_Helicopter_-_Prehistoric-JE1iOzDcibs.mp4
# youtube-dl -f 'worstaudio+worstvideo' [url]
 45369327 World_s_First_Helicopter_-_Prehistoric-JE1iOzDcibs.webm

192MB vs 44MB is a very real difference.

~12% bandwidth conservation from compressed tunnel

I am getting minimal bandwidth in this location, downloading at around 30KB/s.  So I tried proxying my web traffic through a compressed ssh tunnel to see if it would help at all.

Here are the results after my morning browsing, about 1.5hrs of email, forums, texting, etc.

Transferred: sent 3073844, received 49053108 bytes, in 5189.2 seconds
Bytes per second: sent 592.3, received 9452.9
debug1: compress outgoing: raw data 3526015, compressed 2997278, factor 0.85
debug1: compress incoming: raw data 55577970, compressed 48936925, factor 0.88

that’s about 49MB compressed, or 56MB uncompressed. The compression factor of 0.88 in the stats says the traffic was reduced about 12%.  At very slow xfer rates I’ll take what I can get.

Note:  since the connection can be intermittent, I run the autossh wrapper to start the tunnel and screen utility at the other end.    Free tools in your local neighborhood linux distro.



backchannel: thank you for staying on topic

from this thread:

PLEASE NOTE this thread is asking about dometic fridges and solar equipment not how to live without refrigeration. I am looking to live with refrigeration. I have limited access to internet, so having to scroll through replies that are not relevant to the question costs. Thank you for staying on topic.

“I’m not going to google, search the forum, or read any stickies.  I’d rather have you guys do the legwork for me.  So answer my questions the way I want them answered.  No backtalk, and no suggestions that my plan has drawbacks.”

Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

BTW, text replies are highly compressible and cost almost nothing to transmit.  I have collected some info for folks wanting to minimize bandwidth usage.


Backchannel: descriptions with links

from this post:

mod edit, a video of a tent camp at Ehrenberg. please include a description with your links. I am getting tired of doing this and I will start just deleting posts with links and no description.

A better solution would be to change the rule; it’s wrongheaded.  I’ve already described how to get video (or just the audio stream) out of youtube with very little bandwidth.  I do it all the time on my Verizon 3g connection.



backchannel: browser image caching

I suggest that CRVL rules on not overquoting posts due to bandwidth restrictions are well-intentioned but poorly informed.  For example, text is incredibly “cheap” and multimedia is “expensive” to transmit. Consider this ad on the first page I loaded:


The ad is 53kb.  That is 5x the bandwidth required to transmit the the Declaration of Independence.

Plus text is highly compressible compressible by the server.  For example, Continue reading “backchannel: browser image caching”

email bandwidth conservation

Email is something we take for granted until we can’t get it; then it’s a First World Crisis.  Luckily email can be extremely efficient because text is cheap to send/receivetext.  And since so little data is moved in minimal setups you can often get email through when nothing else works.

We need to look at the two major ways to do email:  webmail and traditional email clients.


Webmail means accessing your email via a webpage Continue reading “email bandwidth conservation”

web bandwidth and data conservation

There are two entangled ideas here:

  • the amount of data you use over time (like a month).  If it were electricity this might be kilowatt-hours.
  • the amount of data you use at any given time (available bandwidth of your connection).  If this were electricity it might be Amperes.

We will address the data side of these but it will also pay off when you find your bandwidth limited by crowding or limited reception.

Why you need to know about how webpages work

You don’t have to be a geek but understanding the basics will help you control your data use.  The most important thing to understand is Continue reading “web bandwidth and data conservation”

podcast bandwidth conservation

Podcasts are awesome

I don’t own a TV now and I don’t plan to own one during my boondocking adventure.  I have largely given up on commercial radio.  For those and several more reasons over the past 10 years podcasts have become my main source of information/entertainment.  eBooks do the heavy lifting for more complex or non-nearrealtime subjects.

Podcast files can be big

Audio is much more miserly with bandwidth than video but it can still chew up Continue reading “podcast bandwidth conservation”