TV streaming and minimum connection speeds: what you need

A connection of at least 7 Mb / s (megabits per second) is required to watch streaming movies or TV  series  at very high playback quality ( Ultra HD ).

In fact, below this speed, there is a risk of the much hated buffering.

The latest study by SosTariffe.it compared  the connection speeds necessary  to use the services of the main  streaming TVs  currently on the market: from Netflix to DAZN , passing through Amazon prime video and TIMvision. Depending on the level of image quality we are aiming for, from standard definition to high definition, a more and more performing  internet network is needed .

Streaming TV compared: the differences

The survey was conducted by SosTariffe.it on the basis of data processed in February 2020.  Four video quality standards were examined  : standard definition or SD , high definition or HD , and then again full HD and the highest ultra HD . The network speed necessary to use the main TV streaming services at the four quality levels indicated was then compared. The streaming   services examined by SosTariffe.it were: Netflix, Infinity, DAZN, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, TIMvision, YouTube Premium, Chili, Apple TV +, Disney      +, Mediaset Play. The data on the connection speed necessary to access each quality level were estimated thanks to the  home internet comparator  and never declared by the service provider himself.

SD video quality: an average of 1.93 Mb / s is required for a stream

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Standard definition streaming TV requires a minimum connection speed, between 1 and 3 Mb / s.  The quality of the content you are witnessing, however, will be very low. In addition to blockages in the playback of movies and TV series, it could create difficulties if you use multiple devices connected to the same network.  Of all the TV streaming services considered by the study, the average speed is 1.93 Mb / s.

For Chili and Amazon Prime Video, for example, 1 Mb / s is enough to watch TV series and movies at a basic quality level. A slightly higher speed is required for example for YouTube Premium (1.1 Mb / s), or Mediaset Play (1.2 Mb / s). Unable to follow DAZN with a speed lower than 2 Mb / s, or Infinity (2.1 Mb / s). An even faster network is needed for Now TV and Apple TV + (2.5 Mb / s). Finally, streaming services such as Netflix and TIMvision need at least 3 Mb / s.

HD video quality: you get with a fast network on average 4.19 Mb / s in download

The situation is different for high definition. For HD quality (720p) the speeds offered by the main streaming services range between 2.5 and 6 Mb / s. Only 2.5 Mb is enough, for example for the not very “pretentious” YouTube Premium and Chili. Amazon Prime Video requires a connection speed of at least 3.5 Mb / s. The same is necessary for DAZN if we want to see it from a mobile device. Infinity requires at least 4 megabits per second. For TIMvision you need 5 and no less than 6 for Apple TV +. Finally, to watch a game on DAZN from a smart TV at a high definition quality level, at least one network is required that guarantees a speed of 6.5 Mb / s. On average, therefore, the speed required to watch TV series and movies in HD video quality is 4.19 Mb / s.

Full HD video quality with a fast 6.25 Mb / s download connection

To watch TV programs in full HD (1080p) quality, a clearly much faster connection is required. The values ​​fluctuate from a minimum of 4.5 to a maximum of 10 megabits per second, with an average of 6.25 Mb / s.   

4.5 megabits per second are enough for Chili, for example. Just a little more (5 Mb / s) for Netflix, YouTube Premium or Disney +. We do not see Apple TV + well except with at least 8 Mb / s of speed. The most “demanding” is Now TV’s full high definition which requires 10 mb / s.

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Ultra HD Video Quality: High quality streaming with a fast network averaging 19.31 Mb / s

Whoever wants to access very high quality video content needs, as is evident, an ultra-fast connection.  Ultra high definition ( 4K ) needs a network with a minimum speed of 7 Mb / s . But some streaming services may also require ultra-fast connections of 25 Mb / s.  On average the streaming services active in Italy work well with a fast 19.31 Mb / s network.

As mentioned, 7 Mb / s are enough for example for Infinity’s ultra HD. Already for Chili, a faster network is needed (from 10.5 to 12.5 megabits per second). Next we find Amazon Prime Video, which follows in ultra HD with a network that allows a download of at least 15 megabits per second. Finally, if we want to avoid buffering, we need a 20 Mb / s connection for YouTube Premium and an ultra-fast 25 Mb / s connection for Netflix, TIMvision, Apple TV + and Disney +.

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