One of the most common questions we get is what internet speed do you need for cord cutting? My number one tip on this is don’t ask your internet service provider as they will try to get you to buy the fastest speed possible. My suggestion is you can always get faster internet as providers are always willing to upgrade you. Getting them to downgrade you to a slower plan is much harder. Hopefully, this post helps you pick the right speed without over paying.
What speed do you need for a live TV streaming service like Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu, and others?
Thankfully, Sling TV gives some guidance on what internet speeds you should have to stream Sling TV. The following are the recommended speeds according to Sling TV’s Help Center.
- Constant speed of 3.0 Megabits per second or more: Streaming video content on portable devices such as tablets and phones.
- Constant speed of 5.0 Megabits per second or more: Single stream of video content on a TV, PC, or Mac.
- Constant speed of 25 Megabits per second or more: Recommended for households that maintain internet use on multiple devices.
What speed do you need for an HD stream?
Let’s 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 want 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 considering basic daily web surfing when looking at what Internet speed to get.
What about gaming?
Gaming is one of the few areas that speed really helps. With that said, there is still no reason to break the bank on internet. Even speeds as low as 20 to 50 Mbps are more than enough for most gamers.
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. (The speed you pay for may not be the speed you get.)
Again, add up the number of streams you want at the same time. Multiply by 5. After you get that number multiply it by 1.5. 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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