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Movie Popularity and the Network

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    Movie Popularity and the Network

    I was wondering where "unpopular movies" live. Since Vudu uses a P2P file sharing mechanism, it seems that there must be some boxes somewhere that are hosting these movies that have never been rented.

    Along those same lines, if you rent or buy a lot of movies, does that make your box a better candidate for providing movies to others, thus increasing your upload traffic?

    #2
    Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

    Just like any other P2P there has to be seeds. I am not sure where VUDU keeps their seed locations but I am sure these locations have enought bandwith to serve up these "least" viewed movies.

    I guess you could be a canidate for being a peer if you have rented a lot of popular movies. The more you rented the higher the odds. Its Vegas baby....I'll give you 2 to 1 against...

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      #3
      Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

      Keep in mind though that Vudu will only use a max of about 300 kbps upstream. So even if you have a very popular movie on your box, you will not use much more bandwidth than any other movie as you can only serve so many clients at a time with that speed limitation.

      I will say that with the increase in clients out there, I have seen my upstream use go down quite a bit over the last couple of weeks. The more clients there are, the less any one client is dependent upon for serving content. So if Vudu has 500,000 customers, the needs of any one box to serve is far, far less than if Vudu had say just 500 customers...

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        #4
        Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

        Shouldn't doubling the number of users double the overall download needs as well as doubling the number of potential servers? It seems like the upload demand should stay pretty constant as the system grows.

        For example, 500 boxes each downloading a movie means 500 downloads/uploads which would require an average of 1 upload per box. If you have 1000 boxes each downloading a movie, the average need to upload should still be 1 movie per box.

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          #5
          Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

          Originally posted by redwein View Post
          Shouldn't doubling the number of users double the overall download needs as well as doubling the number of potential servers? It seems like the upload demand should stay pretty constant as the system grows.

          For example, 500 boxes each downloading a movie means 500 downloads/uploads which would require an average of 1 upload per box. If you have 1000 boxes each downloading a movie, the average need to upload should still be 1 movie per box.
          Yes, but the statistical average is that not everyone is going to be watching a movie at the same time. That's my take on it at least...

          For example, if there are 3 peers in the network and one orders a show, those two each take 50% of the load.

          Now with 4 peers, the load is split 33/33/33. With 5 peers, the load is now 25%, etc. etc.

          So even though there may be more people ordering movies, there are likely to be many more boxes at any given time that are not being used....

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            #6
            Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

            But at any given time, doubling the number of users, doubles the number of downloads. My previous post didn't specify a time but if you used 1 movie/week or 1 movie/hour or 1 movie/month, doubling the number of users doubles the number of requested downloads over any specified time period.

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              #7
              Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

              I disagree. You are assuming every user has the same viewing habit. But they don't. Some people may rent one movie a day. Some may rent one movie a month or every two months. It's a distributed solution that works on the random viewing habits of the user base. If everyone used their boxes the same way, you would be right, but they don't. Additionally, the more people that rent or purchase any given movie, the more peers there are that can serve that movie. but not everyone will be watching a given movie at the same time. This is why the P2P system was developed. It completely reduces the amount of server power needed at the head end. Since once movies are seeded to the field, all the server needs to do is act as the traffic cop and tell what peers to talk to each other...

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                #8
                Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

                I'm not assuming that everyone has the same habits. I am assuming that any large group will have the same habits as any other large group of the same size. That is one group of 1,000 users will watch the same number of movies as any other randomly picked group of 1,000 users. So, 2,000 users will consume twice as many movies as 1,000 users. That is statistically true if the groups are picked randomly.

                So, if 1,000 users, on average, watch 1 movie per week, in one week, 1,000 movies will be watched, maintaining the average of 1/user/week. Some may watch 10. Some may watch none, but 1,000 movies will need to come from somewhere. Since there are 1,000 users, each user will, on average, provide 1 movie to the system.

                If you double the number of users to 2,000, but maintain the average of 1 movie/person/week (and there is no reason to assume any other average), then 2,000 movies will get watched in one week. Since there are now 2,000 users, each will still provide 1 movie upload/week.

                The individual habits of users are only statistically significant when you have very small numbers of users. For instance, if the first 10 users are heavy hitters, then certainly getting to 100 or 1,000 will reduce the average upload requirements for the initial heavy users, since the average will reduce for a while as new users are added. However, once you get past a certain point, the individual patterns contriubte to, but don't really change the average. Maybe we are still in that phase and that is what you were talking about. My guess is we are already passed that or will be soon.

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                  #9
                  Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

                  But I am still not sure I completely agree with you. I think your model assumes everyone has the same content on their boxes. True - if you have X% of population Y watching an average of 1 movie a week then 2*Y = 2*X. However, that doesn't mean the load necessarily increases that much on each box.

                  Different boxes are going to have different movies on them. The more boxes that have a popular movie, the less load on each box. Not everyone will watch that movie at the same time and not everyone will ever watch that movie. Different people will be watching different content.

                  Also, your box might serve just 5 minutes of a particular movie since there are many other clients to each server 5 minutes of the same movie. It only takes 20 clients to serve 5 minutes each of an average length movie. So as the number of clients having a particular movie goes up, the load per box goes down.

                  Plus, we don't know the methods by which Vudu seeds client to boxes. Maybe certain clients get seeds of full movies and then act as primary servers while others don't. Maybe this rotates over time, etc.

                  So I still believe that at any one moment, the load on a particular box is going to be much less with a large client base than a small one. The overall load on the peering network is increasing yes, but each peer is carrying a smaller amount of the pie...

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                    #10
                    Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

                    I agree with your comment about each box having different movies on it. I mentioned that in my original post. It does seem that having more movies on your box will make you more likely to be asked to upload content. That makes sense.

                    For the other part though, in your last sentence you acknowledge that the requests for content grows with the growing user base but say that the load on the others diminishes. That last part that is wrong. The demand for content grows proportionally to the user base. An individual request for content has a reduced chance of hitting you with a larger user base, but there are more user requests. The 2 grow proportionally. This means that if you keep all of the other variables constant, which you would absolutely do for a large sampling, doubling the number of users doubles the need for content. It does cut in half the chance that any particular request will hit you, but it doubles the number of requests, so everything is a wash.

                    There is one place you could see a big benefit right now, and that is with the initial startup for boxes. If that takes a lot of data, then having a larger number of boxes to get in from can make a huge impact. In fact, that may be what you are seeing. Everyone who bought in the first week or 2 had a much higher chance of hitting your box than they would today or in the future. My comments, I guess, really only make sense once you get past the initial load up.

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                      #11
                      Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

                      Well, I'm getting beyond my knowledge of statistics here! So I can't defend my position any further nor agree that yours is necessarily 100% correct either. You bring up great points, but it just seems logical that more boxes serving content would create less load on each box. But maybe that isn't the case as you've pointed out. Maybe someone like Greg who knows the protocol can chip in and give some insight into this.

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                        #12
                        Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

                        I guess that's why he can afford all of that hardware ...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Movie Popularity and the Network

                          Well, statistically speaking, the one benefit of a larger pool is that large fluctuations in usage are less and less feasible. With a very small number of users, it's possible to have a large portion of the population happen to order at once, whereas with a larger population, the usage is much more predictable and steady

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