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How Much Data Does Streaming Use?

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Video streaming is the next big thing in the entertainment business. More consumers are developing a preference for streaming films and audio. To fulfill this demand, companies such as Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify have launched on-demand streaming services. The growing popularity of streaming means we’re consuming more internet bandwidth than ever. 

In this article, we’ll show how much data streaming services consume, along with the comparison of streaming and downloading.

Data usage by streaming services

Based on official data from many of the most popular streaming services currently available to the public, we have compiled this list.

Netflix

Netflix offers specific estimates for each of its streaming options. Standard definition consumes up to 0.3 gigabytes per hour. High definition (720p) consumes up to 1 gigabyte per hour. Full HD (1080p) consumes up to 3 gigabytes per hour. UHD (4K) consumes up to 7 gigabytes per hour.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video recommends a minimum download speed of 1 Mbps for standard-definition content and 5 Mbps for high-definition content. Based on the available bandwidth, Prime Video promises to provide the best streaming experience.

YouTube

YouTube recommends 1.1 Mbps for standard definition, 2.5 Mbps for HD 720p, 5 Mbps for Full HD 1080p, and 20 Mbps for 4K.

Disney Plus

A standard definition stream consumes approximately 0.7 GB per hour. Streams in full HD consume about 2 GB of data per hour. Streaming UHD (4K) requires approximately 7.7 GB of data per hour.

HBO Max 

HBO Max recommends a minimum download speed of 5 Mbps when streaming HD video. To stream 4K in the best quality, you need a download speed of at least 50 Mbps.

ESPN+

For optimum viewing experience, ESPN Plus livestreams should be viewed with a minimum network speed of 2Mbps by viewers.

Peacock 

According to Peacock, HD streaming requires a minimum bandwidth of 2.5 Mbps in order to work properly.

Hulu

For its streaming library, Hulu requires a maximum of 3Mbs, for live streams it needs 8Mbs, and for 4K it needs 16Mbs.

Downloading vs Streaming

Streaming a Full HD movie uses about the same amount of bandwidth as downloading a Full HD movie. However, downloading a movie saves a file on your device, allowing you to view it several times. If you stream the same video twice, you’ll need twice as much data. This is true especially when you are connected to Virgin Wi-Fi which allots limited bandwidth for passengers thus making streaming inconvenient. However, airlines such as Aa Inflight has upgraded, high-speed Wi-Fi speeds that allows you to stream movies in high-quality onboard.

However, most streaming services include options that automatically change your stream quality (and how much you download) based on your bandwidth. Streaming a movie in 4K may need less bandwidth than downloading it since the platform modifies the download at different points throughout the stream.

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