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How much bandwidth do I need for watching streaming?

Compared to the past 10 years, people prefer streaming over antenna TV. It‘s also one of the most time-consuming and frequent activities we use the Internet for. ISPs are well aware of this. They always recommend higher bandwidth for customers with streaming needs, which means higher plan prices.

So, how to choose the bandwidth that really matches your needs?


What determines the network speed required when streaming?

1. Streaming media service platform

Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and other platforms have different bandwidth requirements. You can find their speed recommendations on their websites. You can also check the information for each platform below.

2. Device amount

There's obviously a difference in the bandwidth used to stream with 1 TV versus 3 phones at the same time. If you need to stream on more than one device, you should multiply the recommended speed by the number of devices and allow for a margin.


3. Picture quality

It's easy to understand that if you watch HD video, you need more bandwidth than when you watch a standard video.

4. Firewall

Maybe you have had such an experience. You turn on an MLB live stream or a movie that just went live during peak times. You find that the internet is slower than usual. This is because ISPs may set firewalls to throttle bandwidth at certain times and when doing certain things. It is a good idea to ask VPN for help.


5. Hardware: router and playback device

Outdated routers can cause slow data transfer. Older playback devices will have a harder time decoding the video. Both are causes of unsmooth streaming.


Streaming Internet speed recommendation:


Netflix

Video type

Recommend speed per device (Mbps)

Min. requirements

0.5

Recommended speed                                         

1.5

SD streaming

3

HD streaming

5

Ultra HD streaming

25


  • Hulu

Video type

Recommend speed per device (Mbps)

Min. for Hulu streaming library                            

3

Min. for livestreams

8

Min. for 4K content

16


  • Disney+

Video type

Recommend speed per device (Mbps)

HD streaming

5

4K UHD streaming                                               

25


  • Apple TV+

Video type

Recommend speed per device (Mbps)

HD streaming                                                       

5

4K streaming

25


  • Amazon Prime

Video type

Recommend speed per device (Mbps)

SD streaming                                                       

1

HD streaming

5


  • Youtube

Video type

Recommend speed per device (Mbps)

SD 360p streaming

0.7

SD 480p streaming

1.1

HD 720p streaming

2.5

HD 1080p streaming                                            

5

4K streaming

20


  • YouTube TV

Video type

Recommend speed per device (Mbps)

Stream SD video

3

Stream HD video

13

Stream 4K video (for 4K Plus subscribers*)         

25


Now, you can choose the bandwidth plan that works best for you and your family. However, if you want to increase your internet speed, there are more you can do than just upgrade your bandwidth. Follow our tips:

1. Turn off other devices and software while streaming

Even though you have many devices, they don't need to be connected to the Internet at the same time. Disconnect unnecessary ones and you can get a better streaming experience.

2. Bypass ISP restrictions with a VPN

When using a VPN, your information and privacy are encrypted, including the content you access. So the ISP won't think you're visiting a page they need to throttle. X-VPN provides the fastest servers and dedicated channels for streaming.

3. Upgrade routers and playback devices

If the above doesn't work, then you need to check your hardware. Sometimes reboots help, but if they're causing too much trouble, why not switch to a more comfortable one?


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