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How Much Internet Speed Does It Take To Stream?


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How Much Internet Speed Does It Take To Stream?
« on: March 04, 2017, 11:32:50 AM »
In this day and age of expensive broadband Internet plans and bandwidth caps, it is good to know how much bandwidth a typical movie or TV show requires for streaming.

If you find yourself never watching 4K content or don't even own a 4K TV, you may be able to downsize your Internet service instead of paying for more service than you need.

This is for watching one stream at a time. If you have multiple family members doing stuff online all at the same time, you will need to take this into account and it will require more bandwidth.

Streaming a Movie or TV Show at the Following Resolution Requires at a Minimum:


 - 1.5 Mbps - 3 Mbps – Standard Definition SD
 - 5-8 Mbps – 720p and 1080p High Definition
 - 25 Mbps – 4K Ultra High Definition

What about Downloading?

Downloading is a little different. You can download a 4K movie over a longer period of time on a slower connection than watch it just perfectly. Because at this point it has nothing to do with your bandwidth and more about streaming it from your home network or portable storage device.

Most home networks run at 100Mbps unless you have a Gigabit Network which runs at 1000Mbps. Even a 100Mbps network is more than enough speed to stream a 4K movie or show from a Server, Shared drive or NAS.

How Much Bandwidth Does a Movie or TV Show Use to Stream?

Today many Internet providers are putting a limit on how much bandwidth you can use in a month. This is called a data cap. While current limits with most Internet companies that implement this are at 1Tb. They can easily be reduced at any time. Go over the limit and it can cost you a hefty penalty.

It is a good idea to know how much a typical movie or one hour TV show uses to stream so you can plan accordingly.

Bandwidth Used When Streaming From Netflix:

“Watching movies or TV shows on Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video and 7 GB per hour for 4K.”

You can adjust your settings to meet your needs based on these numbers.

Low (0.3 GB per hour)
Medium (480p SD: 0.7 GB per hour)
High (Best video quality, up to 3 GB per hour for 1080p HD and 7 GB per hour for 4K Ultra HD)

Use this as a rough guide. Other streaming sites use very similar amounts.

Please Note: When you download a movie that is 1.5GB. You used 1.5GB of data. The same as if you streamed it. It does not matter which device you watch it on. The data used will be the same.

The Good News

Let's look at this in real numbers. Even if every show you watch is in 1080p HD and uses 3 GB an hour. This will still let you watch 333 - 1 hour shows a month without exceeding your data cap allowance. Or, it will let you watch 166 - 2 hour movies. Thats a lot of TV to watch in a month.

Even if you watched TV 8 hours a day, this would still be under 240 hours. Which is well under the 333/hours a month of a typical 1TB data cap.
Don't stop dreamin and keep on mkvXstreamin


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