Compared to Japanese mobile services, cellular services in U.S. simply suck. Soon you may say the same about U.S.-based video sharing sites. YouTube has all the traffic, but the video quality is not anything to write home about.
Not so in Japan, where the Sony eyeVio project, a user-generated video sharing site, has just launched a “eyeVio High Quality Video” where the video screen size supports “near DVD quality” resolution (640 x 368 at 16:9 and 480 x 360 at 4:3) screen sizes. The bit rate of videos is 1.5Mbps. All users of the site can upload videos and chose to have them in this new resolution. You can find examples of the new video size here.
There is a direct correlation in the quality (and quantity of digital content consumed) and the speed of your connections. And that is precisely the reason why Japan (and other countries) might start pushing the video quality envelope, because of the easy availability of super broadband (in some places as fast as 100 megabits per second) over fiber connections.
Higher speeds, both for download and uploads, make it easier to play around with bigger files. Higher quality files, say like the ones on eyeVio, take a long time to upload on U.S.-speed broadband connections, but at over 50 megabits per second, the files are transferred in a blink of an eye. In Japan, some broadband service providers are boosting the upload speeds as well.