One of the most popular questions we get is about Internet speed. A common trick ISPs use on cord cutters is telling them they need a crazy fast Internet speed to stream video. (Often at a crazy high price tag.)
What speed do you need for an HD stream?
Let’s take a look at what Netflix requires to stream HD video per stream. According to the Netflix website you need 5 Mbps down for each HD stream, which means if you want to stream two HD streams at once you need 10 Mbps.
The following is what Hulu recommends for each stream:
- 720p HD:3 Mbps
- 1080p HD:6 Mbps
- 4K Ultra HD:13 Mbps
So if you wanted to stream two 1080p streams at the same time on Hulu you would need 12 Mbps down.
What about other web needs?
Surfing the web on sites such as Facebook can work on very slow connections. I would not worry about taking into account basic daily web surfing when looking at what Internet speed to get.
What speed do you really need?
Everyone has different needs. A single person living alone who only streams one stream at a time has a lower speed need than a family of six.
My suggestion is to add up how many streams you want at once and multiply it by 5 and then double it. So if you want two HD streams at once that would be 10 Mbps down but I recommend doubling that and getting 20 Mbps down so you can stream and surf without issues.
Again add up the number of streams you want at the same time. After you get that number multiply it by two. That should give you a good rule of thumb on what speed you need. (Remember many services limit the number of streams you can have at once.)
What if you are still having buffering issues?
If you are meeting our recommended speeds but are still seeing buffering and other streaming issues, we can help. Typically they are caused by issues in your home network or issues at the streaming service. Check out our guide on ways to fix buffering and other streaming issues for help.
Fast Internet speeds are great! Just don’t break the bank paying for a faster speed than you need.
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