If you think your favorite OTT subscription video on demand (SVOD) app has been buffering too much lately or frequently down-rezing that quality 4K Ultra HD/HDR video you might be paying extra for — Just wait.

A report issued this week by U.K.-based Digital TV Research (DTR) forecasts the number of SVOD subscriptions in the U.S. will climb from 203 million at the end of last year to 317 million by 2025. That’s 114 million new subscribers, many of whom may be competing to stream the next new episode of Ozark at the same time as you.

Actually, much of that traffic will likely come from people who already stream from one service or another, but the most popular apps are likely to get very congested nevertheless.

The report suggests that in that time even the most established services like Netflix are going to grow. Netflix was seen gaining an estimated 10 million subscribers by 2026. And that’s not even the top premium SVOD growth leader.

Besides Netflix, the top growing premium SVOD services are projected by DTR to include Disney+ (predicted to pickup up 27 million more subscribers), and Hulu (22 million adds). Others getting fatter will be Peacock, HBO Max and CBS All Access/Paramount+. The study forecasts the six largest SVOD service platforms accounting for 96 million new subscribers, up 82% from 114 million total additions over the 2019-2025 period.

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But look on the bright side, at least U.S. viewers will have more programming options to choose from when a particular program or app is being tapped too heavily.

Simon Murray, DTV’s principal analyst, stated: “The depth of choice in the U.S. will not be replicated in any other country. Eight U.S. platforms will have more than 10 million paying subs by 2025. Disney+ will just overtake Hulu by 2025.”

Fortunately, a number of next-level digital compression codecs (AV1, EVC/MPEG5, VVC/H.266 etc.) are transitioning into use in part for massive next-generation data streams, like 8K video files, and are likely to be applied to lower-rez content as well to free up some additional bandwidth.

Keep that in mind as you look at the spec sheet shopping for your next television set.

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By Greg Tarr

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