Lynda.com is a great service. Its price of $250/year for the account without the training files, is, in my opinion, a great value. On the the problems, however, with the service is the amount of bandwidth used by the streaming videos when it comes to mobile devices — specifically personal hotspots and mobile hotspots.
First let me say that I DO very much appreciate the high-quality of the videos when I’m at home using my wired connection or even my wi-fi connection. The videos are crisp and clear and do not skip.
And as for the iPhone app, I like the app and with my unlimited Verizon iPhone bandwidth plan, I’m unconcerned about bandwidth. Sometimes it takes a little time to load the videos on my iPhone, but I can’t complain — especially because there’s a low and high quality option. The only real issue I have with the iPhone Lynda.com app is that sometimes you can’t really see what the video wants you to see. In the photography videos where everything is “big”, the iPhone app is great. But when you are using Lynda.com for software training — even on the high quality settings — it’s just too darn hard to see the details that the presenter wants you to see. For example, in the Google Analytics training video (which I highly recommend), he goes into some good detail with the GA reports. Unfortunately on the iPhone, you just can’t see the kind of detail you need to really get the most out of the video.
So then it crossed my mind to use my personal hotspot. I’ve got a Verizon iPhone personal hotspot and I get 2.0 GB/mo of bandwidth (it was 5GB/mo for my Blackberry which cost a little more but was worth it). And while I don’t have a problem seeing the videos, the bandwidth that’s used is enormous and can easily use up your monthly bandwidth allotment rather quickly. So in order to figure this all out I took a look at some numbers:
On the Lynda.com site they say that the bandwidth used is “Up to 440 KB/s per individual user”. Let’s break that down into some clearer numbers.
440 KB/S = 26.40 MB/min
which is the same as…get this….
So at 1.6 GB/h, you could basically watch one hour of Lynda.com video (which trust me is easy to do), but you’d also practically wipe out your bandwidth allotment.
In summary I do like the Lynda.com iPhone app, and I really like the service But when it comes to trying to watch the training videos for which you need to see detail, I’m sticking to a wired connection or my home wi-fi connection. Because my Verizon personal hotspot plan is limited at 2GB/mo, Lynda.com on the road really isn’t an option at this time.