How fast does your internet need to be to stream?

Thursday, 19 January, 2017

In today’s world, it’s all about speed. We want the latest releases before anyone else, we want our online orders to come the next day and we want our internet to be as fast as it can possibly be. After price, speed is often the second most crucial part when it comes to choosing an internet provider and deciding which broadband package is right for you. If you decide on one that’s too slow you’ll not be able to do the things you want, whereas if you decide to go for the whole hog and don’t use it, you’ll be paying for something you simply do not use.

With streaming overtaking downloading and becoming one of the most popular ways to catch up with the latest goings on in your favourite soaps, watch the finest blockbusters and those most talked-about shows and of course listen to the latest tunes, many people often think that they need the fastest speeds in order to do so. However this isn’t always the case.


Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services available. Around 33.3 million subscribers tune in all over the world to watch some of the most exciting shows TV has ever seen. And despite many thinking they need superfast broadband in order to watch the latest TV, the company in fact says otherwise. According to the experts at Netflix, the required broadband speed is just 0.5Mbps to stream. However you might find yourself having to wait for the system to buffer, so it recommends a minimum of 1.5Mbps to ensure continued play. If you’re looking for better quality, you should look for a provider that will offer you at least 3.0Mbps for standard definition, 5.0Mbps for high definition and a speedy 25Mbps for ultra-high definition. Although these are Netflix’s guides, it’s safe to go by these rules when thinking about other TV and film streaming sites, too.


When it comes to music, you might be surprised to hear you will need a similar minimum download speed to streaming video. iTunes radio and Spotify are two of the big players when it comes to the music streaming market, and require similar internet speeds. Each suggests you have a minimum of between 1 and 2Mbps to steam without interruption. However a speed of up to 5Mbps obviously won’t hurt, while ensuring your favourite song doesn’t stop at a pivotal moment.

Despite the numbers potentially seeming surprising, it’s important to remember that households with high usage may need faster speeds to accommodate for streaming taking place on a number of devices at the same time.

If you’re struggling to catch up with your favourite shows and your broadband speed is just not up to scratch, maybe it’s time to consider switching providers.