What Internet Speed Do I Need for Streaming Video?

Did you know that there’s a minimum speed requirement for streaming videos? Yes. You read that right. If you think you’re enjoying your YouTube binge via a public Wi-Fi or an intermittent Internet connection at home, then you should read this.

Youtube on phone

You might be contented for being able to watch YouTube content at any time of the day and at any place you may be. However, have you ever thought of those times when you’re watching a live YouTube video and suddenly, you’re stuck in buffering or loading status. All you see is the loading icon constantly turning around and round and round.

This is because being connected to the Internet is not enough to enjoy an uninterrupted and consistent quality video stream. You must be able to have a consistent connection in a particular speed required by the app, video service, or video content. Considering the amount of data in video content nowadays, getting a 128 KBPS dial-up Internet connection will never be enough.

What are the minimum Internet speed requirements for streaming movies?

Video streaming services and websites today require a minimum Internet speed to download video content and stream on whatever device you’re using, ie: Internet TV, tablet, phone, web browser, or computer. Companies such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu won’t be enjoyable if you don’t have the Internet speed required to stream their movies, TV series, and other video content.

The goal is to be able to play the video content on those video streaming services continuously without getting halted by a buffering or loading error. Imagine yourself getting ready with your popcorn and drink only to watch a movie that constantly gets stuck, streams in pixels and/or delays, or worse, doesn’t load.

In order to enjoy the most optimum video experience via these video streaming services and websites, it’s best to have an Internet connection that meets their speed requirements. Below are the recommended Internet speed requirements for streaming movies from different video streaming services and/or websites.

1. Netflix

Netflix requires at least 1.5 MBPS to stream video from their website using a browser in a computer. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to stream movies if your Internet speed is lower than 1.5 MBPS. You can pretty much do that. But you won’t definitely enjoy it. Netflix video content can be streamed 0.5 MBPS speeds but the video playback will be grainy, especially on a large screen. It will feel like you’re watching a movie from a 90s VHS tape.

Below are recommended Internet speeds for streaming videos via Netflix by the different video quality.

  • 3 MBPS – standard definition movies (480p resolution) viewed on an Internet TV
  • 4 MBPS – HD movies, both 720p and 1080p resolution, viewed on any device
  • 5 MBPS – Best viewing experience for 1080p resolution movies
  • 15 MBPS – 4K movies viewed on any device
  • 25 MBPS – Best viewing experience for 4K movies

What’s great about Netflix is it will try as much as possible to reduce any incidents of buffering or loading in the middle of streaming. It automatically adjusts the video streaming quality delivery based on the Internet speed it detects that you’re using. The result is a continuous playback of the movie but with a lower resolution or video quality.

2. Hulu

Similar to Netflix, Hulu’s video streaming contents have recommended Internet speeds to enjoy the maximum video streaming experience.

  • 5 MBPS – standard definition movies streaming
  • 3 MBPS – high definition, 720p resolution, movies, and videos streaming
  • 6 MBPS – high definition, 1080p resolution, movies, and TV series streaming
  • 8 MBPS – live video streaming
  • 13 MBPS – ultra HD, 4k video and movie streaming

3. YouTube

With you YouTube, you can play any video content at low Internet speeds via a web browser on a computer or mobile device. But you’ll expect it to be at a lower quality or with intermittent bumps. If you want to completely enjoy your YouTube experience, especially when watching high definition video contents, you can follow the Internet speed recommendations below.

  • 5 MBPS – streaming 720p resolution HD video contents
  • 4 MBPS – streaming 1080p resolution HD video contents
  • 15 MBPS – streaming 4K resolution ultra HD video contents

4. Amazon Video

Amazon’s video streaming services won’t play on lower Internet speeds. You may be able to start playback on a movie, but you’ll immediately get stuck on a buffering or loading status. Worse, you’ll end up getting blurry or pixelated video and/or jagged and jumpy playback.

  • 5 MBPS – streaming standard definition movies, TV series, and other video contents
  • 5 MBPS – streaming HD video contents, both 720p and 1080p resolutions
  • 15 MBPS – streaming 4K resolution ultra HD video contents

5. Vudu

  • 0 MBPS – streaming standard definition video contents
  • 3 MBPS – streaming 720p resolution HD video contents
  • 9 MBPS – streaming 1080p resolution HD video contents and audio
  • 11 MBPS – streaming 4K resolution ultra HD video contents with Dolby Digital HDR audio

In addition, Vudu will allow you to test if your device and Internet connection can stream higher quality video contents. This will let you observe if the video halts and bumps into buffering errors when played in higher video quality. Otherwise, you can opt to stream the video content with lower video quality to enjoy the continuous, uninterrupted play.

6. iTunes Video

  • 5 MBPS – streaming standard definition, 480p resolution movies, TV series, video, and audio contents
  • 6 MBPS – streaming high definition, 720p resolution movies, and other video contents
  • 8 MBPS – streaming high definition, 1080p resolution movies, and other video contents
  • 25 MBPS – streaming ultra HD, 4K resolution movies and other video contents

Conclusion

If you want to completely enjoy your video streaming experience, it’s best to get a decent Internet connection speed from your Internet service provider. Signing up to a minimum of 10 to 15 MBPS offer from your Internet service provider is quite enough.

Whether it’s DSL, broadband or cable Internet, Fiber, or Satellite, make sure you’re getting more than the recommended Internet speed by those video streaming services and websites. Also, take into account the latency and performance of the Internet service as well as the number of people who will share the Internet connection at home.