I would like to know that if a website advertises a streaming download as say 100MB, would my download to my computer be 100MB ?

Would there be streaming control packets that a service provider would charge for over and above the 100MB content ? Assume the latest RealPlayer viewer.

The rub for me is that I have downloaded MIT lectures and according to my file manager the file sizes have matched up to the download sizes on YouTube. However my ISP seems to think that the streams were larger and charged me for more than the file size of the download.

I am left wondering where the data came from.


A reputable site (like YouTube) should show the correct file sizes in their descriptions, but this is not necessarily the number to base your statistics on. A page can say one thing and send you a completely different number of bytes. Your actual download size will be what your ISP should charge you for.

There are a couple of things that could provide misaligned numbers here:

  • Bug in the ISP reporting (not so likely)
  • Error on the web page that reports the size of the file (more likely)
  • Rounding differences in the way that the site reports file sizes. For lots of large downloads this could easily skew your metrics.

Video repository sites like YouTube will usually use a dynamic method to report the file size on a web page so once the code is good to pull the file size the human element is out of the picture.

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