How much download speed does streaming use?
Last Updated: Monday, 1 May 2023
A great way to measure what speed you need for your internet plan is to consider the speed requirements for the online services that you use.
Minimal internet use (browsing web pages with pictures and text, sending emails) requires approximately 5-10Mbps per user. In a two-person household, we would typically recommend the 25Mbps speed option to cover general internet usage for those two people, as it would be closest to that calculation without going under.
Using streaming and services or online video calls, we recommend 10-25Mbps per person in your household. In a two-person household, which could mean choosing either the 25Mbps plan or the 50Mbps plan depending on how often these kinds of services are used.
If you’re unsure what options to select when choosing your broadband data allowance, a general calculation to follow is 3GB per hour of use per person. This roughly equals 1 hour of internet use per day with a 100GB plan. For most households, an unlimited plan is the best option.
To learn more about these allowances in detail, and what usage is generated from different types of online activity, continue reading.
The amount of data YouTube uses really depends on the quality you watch your videos in. This table should help you get a better understanding of your data usage.
|Quality||10 Minutes||1 Hour|
|4K (UHD)||450 MB||2.7GB|
|1080p (HD)||275 MB||1.65GB|
|720p (SD)||145 MB||870 MB|
|480p (SD)||44 MB||264 MB|
Netflix & Stan
If you’re not careful, a TV show binge will chew through your data, especially if you are watching it in that sweet, sweet 4K quality.
|480p (SD)||500 MB|
Fetch, similar to its streaming counterparts, uses around 1GB of data per hour for standard definition and 3GB an hour for High Definition.
If you watch 1 or 2 movies a week on the starter pack, you’ll use roughly 20GB per month.
If you watch 1 or 2 movies a week and stream TV for 2 hours a day on the entertainment pack, then you’ll use 60GB per month.
If you watch 4 hours of streamed TV a day on the entertainment pack or the world channels, you’ll use, at a minimum, 120GB per month.
Video Chat – Zoom
Given the rise of Zoom, and similar video chat platforms, in the Covid and post-Covid era, having a meeting or catching up with a friend virtually is the new norm now. Whilst setting your picture quality to low on some platforms won’t use up too much data, setting your quality to high can use a fair amount of data.
1:1 Call on Zoom
|High||270 MB/hr||270 MB/hr||540 MB/hr|
|720p||540 MB/hr||540 MB/hr||1.08 GB/hr|
|1080p||810 MB/hr||810 MB/hr||540 MB/hr|
Group Call on Zoom
|High||450 MB/hr||360 MB/hr||810 MB/hr|
|720p||675 MB/hr||675 MB/hr||1.35 GB/hr|
|1080p||1.2 GB/hr||1.2 GB/hr||2.4 GB/hr|
Audio Streaming – Spotify, Apple Music
Who doesn’t love a good boogie or podcast!? The amount of data you use per hour depends on the quality of your audio and the platform you use. For instance, Apple only streams at one particular quality, whereas, Spotify has different options for streaming quality.
|Platform||Per second||Per minute||Per hour|
Gaming – PS4, XBOX, Switch and PC
Online gaming surprisingly doesn’t use much data, varying from 10 MB to 50 MB an hour. However, the catch with gaming is that most games require a massive download before you can. Games can require anywhere from a measly 5GB download to a whopping 190GB download (thanks Modern Warfare, I would like to download another 20GB update instead of playing with my friends).
Social Media – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
If you’re just scrolling through your social media and having a gander at the content on offer, expect to use roughly 1.5MB per minute. When you start interacting with the content, for instance watching videos, clicking on a bunch of photos, commenting on posts and messaging friends, your internet usage will increase to 2.5-3MB per minute. You’ll likely use roughly 3GB per month on social media.
The average page requires between 1MB to 2.5MB to load. After being combining with the average person’s web browsing trends, you will roughly use 7GB of data each month.