What Internet speed you need for watching Netflix in South Africa

Thanks to the increasing number of content services across the Internet, more consumers are using online subscription platforms.

There is a large selection of streaming services available online, including Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Hulu, and Showmax.

Lysko Consulting Chief Consultant Albert Lysko explains that online rentals can require monthly subscriptions, or permit renting and buying of individual shows.

The bandwidth required to stream a movie or TV show is determined by several factors, added Lysko.

Streaming a movie or series online demands an Internet connection with sufficient bandwidth, which is determined by the quality of the media – including factors like whether it is full HD or in UHD.

Minimum required bandwidth

The table below summarises the minimum speed requirements to stream content from popular online platforms at specified resolutions, based on data collected by Lysko.

Service SD (480p) HD (720p) Full HD (1080p) 4K/UHD (2160p)
Netflix 2Mbps 4Mbps 5Mbps 15Mbps
YouTube 2.5Mbps 4Mbps 15Mbps
Amazon Prime 1Mbps 3.5Mbps 3.5Mbps 15Mbps
Vudu 2.3Mbps 4.5Mbps 9Mbps 11Mbps
Hulu 1.5Mbps 3Mbps 6Mbps 13Mbps
Showmax 2Mbps 4Mbps

It should be noted that Google Play Movies does not list a defined “minimum” bandwidth requirement for 4K video streams, but recommends a connection of 25Mbps or faster.

Lysko also found that streaming in SD with 480 lines of vertical resolution requires a connection of around 2Mbps.

The DVD-like experience of high definition (HD) with 720 lines of vertical resolution demands around 4‑5Mbps, while Full HD requires between 5-9Mbps of bandwidth, said Lysko.

Lysko added that in order to stream 4K video, users need to have at least 15Mbps of bandwidth available, with most providers recommending around 20-25Mbps.

When watching videos online over LTE or ADSL, it is often critical to watch out for the number of gigabytes a movie or show will consume, he noted.

Lysko said a typical 1.5 hour-long movie played in the most common HD format will often need at least 3.5GB of data, but watching the same movie in UHD format may easily consume over 15GB.

8K streams, which one can already try thanks to selected YouTube videos, will demand around 50GB.

This article is based on research by Lysko Consulting Chief Consultant Albert Lysko.

Now read: Netflix working on interactive TV shows

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What Internet speed you need for watching Netflix in South Africa