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Most Net users can't watch video

A new study says fewer than 25 percent of U.S. home PC users have the technology to watch video content online.

On the heels of the online release of the president's videotaped grand jury testimony, a new study has found that fewer than 25 percent of U.S. home PC users have the technology to watch video content online.

The study's results seem to conflict with reports before the video was released that news sites were expecting a deluge of viewers. Though the online news outlets were able to weather the "storm," many reported greatly heightened or record-setting traffic for the video., for one, said it set a record yesterday for most simultaneous users accessing a video clip.

The study released yesterday by Web usage researcher Media Metrix found that of the 70 million Americans who have PCs, only 17.4 million have the hardware and software necessary to view video online in real time.

"While Media Metrix has been tracking a consistent upward trend in home PC hardware upgrades overall, even those with the appropriate technology to watch video on the web can expect it to be a relatively time-consuming as well as frustrating experience," Bruce Ryon, Media Metrix's senior vice president and chief technology analyst, said in a statement.

Of the requirements to view Web video in real time, the study found U.S. home PC users have the following:

  • Roughly half have at least a Pentium-class processor.

  • Forty-three percent have a 100MHz processor or higher.

  • More than 80 percent support at least 256 colors.

  • About 48 percent have a 28.8-kbps modem or higher.

  • Approximately 63 percent of home PCs have the Windows 95 operating system.