What broadband speed do I need for Netflix? The optimal speed for streaming

Netflix, BBC iPlayer, News, Speedtest and other Apps on iPhone screen

Discover what broadband speed you need to watch top streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube. 

Most households have at least one TV subscription, whether it’s to binge-watch or bring your mates over for a Premier League game

But how do you know what broadband speed is right for platforms like Netflix and Prime Video? And what should you do if you’re tired of constant buffering during your favourite sitcoms?  

We’ve got all the details you need.

Are you out of contract and looking to switch your broadband provider? Discover how to find the best broadband deals in the market now. 

What broadband speed do I need for Netflix and other streaming services?

The broadband speed you need for streaming services depends on each platform and can range from 1Mbps to 25Mbps. 

To give you an idea, we’ve rounded up the recommended speeds for some of the most popular streaming services. 

Keep in mind that these are the recommended speeds for streaming. If you use the internet for browsing or gaming on top of that, you’ll need more than this. 

Streaming service SD HD 4K
Amazon Prime Video 1Mbps 5Mbps 25Mbps
Apple TV Plus 2.5Mbps 8Mbps 25Mbps
BBC iPlayer 1.5Mbps 5Mbps 24Mbps
Disney Plus N/A 5Mbps 25Mbps
ITV Hub 3Mbps N/A N/A
Netflix 3Mbps 5Mbps 15Mbps
NOW TV 2.5Mbps 12Mbps N/A
TNT Sports 3.5Mbps 8Mbps 30Mbps
Youtube 1.1Mbps 5Mbps 20Mbps

What broadband speed do I need for Amazon Prime Video?

Amazon Prime Video screen

For Amazon Prime Video, you need at least a minimum download speed of 1Mbps for SD and 5Mbps for HD. If you stream movies and TV shows in 4K, it’s 25Mbps. 

You can stream in 4K Ultra HD if you have a Prime Video membership. But you need a good broadband speed for this to work. 

To stream on Prime Video, you can use the web, app, smartphone, tablet, set-top box, game console or smart TV.

Should I get Amazon Prime Video?

If you shop online a lot, chances are that you already have Amazon Prime Video for free. This is if you have a £8.99 subscription to Amazon Prime.

You can sign up for Prime Video for £5.99. Keep in mind that this comes without any of the Prime benefits. 

With Prime Video, you can watch popular movies like The Lord of the Rings and TV shows like The Boys. Plus, you get to watch live sports, such as the Premier League

We’ve rounded up the best Amazon Prime Video deals if you’re planning to get a subscription.   

What broadband speed do I need for Apple TV Plus?

For Apple TV Plus, you need at least 2.5Mbps for SD and 8Mbps for HD. 

For 4K streaming, you require a minimum of 25Mbps and can go up to 41Mbps for UHD content. Depending on your broadband speed at home, the streaming quality can change. But anything over 8Mbps means that you can stream with ease. 

To stream on Apple TV Plus, you can use the Apple TV app, iOS devices or the web. 

Should I get Apple TV Plus?

There are a lot of Apple TV Plus offers in the market and you can get up to 24 months for free. If you purchase a brand new Apple product like an iPhone or a Mac, you can get a three-month free trial for Apple TV Plus. 

You can watch exclusive content such as Ted Lasso, The Morning Show and CODA. 

What broadband speed do I need for BBC iPlayer?

BBC best streaming services

BBC iPlayer recommends a download speed of anywhere between 1.5Mbps to 5Mbps. 

Although there isn’t a huge catalogue of 4K content on it, you would need 24Mbps to stream any of it. 

Should I get BBC iPlayer?

BBC iPlayer is a free video-on-demand service from the BBC with no commercial ads. You can stream it on the app, smartphone, tablet, computer, smart TV and Amazon. 

All you need is a TV licence and you can enjoy David Attenborough, EastEnders, BBC Radio and Strictly Come Dancing. Sports enthusiasts can also watch Match of the Day or any live streaming.

What broadband speed do I need for Disney Plus?

In this photo illustration a close-up of a hand holding a TV

Disney Plus requires a minimum speed of 5Mbps for HD content and 25Mbps for 4K UHD streaming. 

If you have a lower speed, it can impact your streaming quality. Make sure that you stream using one of the supported devices. 

These include web browsers, smartphones, tablets, streaming sticks, gaming consoles, smart TVs and set-top boxes. 

Should I get Disney Plus?

With Disney Plus, you can watch timeless classics like Toy Story, The Little Mermaid or The Lion King. 

You can also watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars series or National Geographic documentaries. 

Discover the best Disney Plus deals available if you’re thinking about getting a subscription. 

What broadband speed do I need for ITV Hub?

To stream on ITV Hub, you just need a minimum of 0.8Mbps. This is less than BBC iPlayer, and you won’t have to worry too much about your broadband speed. 

There is no HD streaming, so you just need around 3Mbps to stream on ITV Hub easily. You can stream on ITV Hub using your phone, tablet, computer or smart TV.

Should I get ITV Hub?

The ITV Hub basically consists of everything from CITV and ITV2. You can watch any of the ITV channels, and most of them are free. 

The only thing you will have to pay for is a TV licence fee. Or for ad-free streaming, you pay for ITVX Premium which comes with Britbox and Studiocanal Presents

You can watch a lot of exclusive ITVX content such as international films, popular TV shows and movies. Popular shows include Good Will Hunting, The Vampire Diaries and Love Island.  

What broadband speed do I need for Netflix?

Netflix displayed on two screens (image: Getty Images)

On Netflix, you need a download speed of at least 3-5Mbps for HD streaming. If you stream in UHD, you will need 15Mbps or higher to watch TV shows and movies. 

Although you can use Netflix at speeds as low as 0.5Mbps, the quality will be poor. So try aiming for anything above 3Mbps and you can stream seamlessly. However, this comes at a price, so check before you take out a Netflix subscription. 

Standard and premium subscribers can download TV shows and movies from Netflix. You can stream Netflix through a smartphone, laptop, smart TV, gaming console, media player, set-top box, web browser or tablet.  

Are you a premium Netflix subscriber? You may have received a free ‘surprise’ upgrade which may have greatly improved your streaming experience. Read to find out more. 

Should I get Netflix?

Some of the most popular TV shows on Netflix are Beef, The Crown, Sex Education, Stranger Things and Love is Blind. 

You can watch movies like Knives Out, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, Paddington and all of the Harry Potter movies. 

Sports fans can watch sports documentaries like Beckham, Tour de France and Formula 1: Drive to Survive. 

Find out some tips and tricks on how to save money with Netflix.

What broadband speed do I need for NOW TV?

NOW TV homescreen

For NOW TV, you need a minimum of 2.5Mbps to 12Mbps for streaming in SD or low-end HD (720p). If you’re using 3G or 4G, you just need 0.45Mbps. 

However, having slightly more internet bandwidth is helpful so that you don’t struggle with lagging or buffering while streaming. 

You can stream on NOW TV with laptops, computers, tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles and NOW devices. 

Should I get NOW TV?

NOW is Sky’s on-demand streaming service, where you can watch movies, TV shows and live sports. 

You can opt for an Entertainment or Cinema Pass or a day/monthly NOW Sky Sports membership. The Sports membership lets you watch all the live events, including cricket, football and golf. 

With NOW, you’ll be able to watch Game of Thrones, Succession, Law and Order and many more TV shows. You also get access to films, like Knock at the Cabin, M3GAN, The Hunger Games and Babylon. 

What broadband speed do I need for TNT Sports?

TNT Sports, formerly BT Sport, will need at least 3.5Mbps for SD and 8Mbps for HD streaming. For UHD 4K streaming, you will require a broadband speed of at least 30Mbps. 

The minimum speed you can use to stream on TNT Sports is 0.4Mbps. However, the last thing you want is to miss out on any touch of the ball during a game. So make sure to have at least 3.5Mbps broadband speed. 

Should I get TNT Sports?

If you love watching live football games, you should consider getting TNT Sports. You get access to Premier League matches, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League matches and FA Cup. 

With TNT Sports, you can also watch cricket, rugby, hockey, boxing, motorsport and baseball matches. 

What broadband speed do I need for Youtube?

In this photo illustration, a YouTube logo is displayed on a

YouTube recommends a broadband speed of at least 1.1Mbps to 5Mbps for SD and HD streaming. For UHD, 4K or 2160p, you will need at least 20Mbps. 

To give you a good viewing experience, YouTube automatically changes the video resolution 

To give you the best viewing experience, YouTube dynamically adjusts the video resolution based on your internet speed. This helps prevent buffering interruptions while you watch. 

You can stream on YouTube using smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and smart TVs. Streaming devices like Apple TV and Chromecast are also compatible.

Should I get YouTube?

YouTube is free to use and you can watch news, movies, TV shows, comedies, sports, music videos and much more. YouTube Premium is paid, but you can watch YouTube ad-free and play it in the background. 

You can watch Life of Pi, The Truman Show, Sky Sports Football highlights and Kitchen Nightmares. Plus, there are Channel 4 Documentaries, Comedy Central Stand-Ups and music videos by your favourite artists. 

What broadband speed do I need for streaming on multiple devices?

For those who live in a larger household, you will need more bandwidth for streaming. Suppose you live in a four-person household, two of which are kids. You will already be using around 10-15Mbps for streaming YouTube and Netflix everyday.

It’s also important to note how many devices are going to be streaming at the same time. If this has video calls, online gaming and streaming altogether, you will need a lot more Mbps. 

When you’re looking for a broadband deal, here are the speeds you should keep in mind. 

Number of devices Recommended Download Speed
1-2 Up to 25 Mbps
3-5 50 - 100 Mbps
5+ 150 to 200 Mbps

What is upload speed and download speed?

When you are using streaming services, the terms upload speed and download speed will be used. 

We’ve explained the difference between the two, and why you will need it. 

Upload speed

Upload speed means how fast you can send stuff from your computer to any device or internet server. You will need a good upload speed to send emails, play online games or do video calls. 

Upload speed is not important when you’re watching content on streaming platforms. This is because your device mainly downloads data instead of uploading it. It makes your playback speed smoother so you can watch TV shows and movies seamlessly. 

Good upload speed: Minimum of 5Mbps. 

Download speed

Download speed means the amount of Mbps it takes to download data from the internet to your device. This can be images, videos, texts, files and audio. 

It also refers to things like music streaming, downloading large files or streaming any content online. This downloaded content is stored temporarily in your device’s storage so that you don’t face any interruptions while watching it.

Good download speed: Minimum of 25Mbps 

How do I check my broadband speed?

Make use of our broadband speed checker to see if you’re getting the advertised speeds by your broadband provider. 

If not, try haggling with your broadband provider or see if you can switch

Our broadband comparison widget can help you find the best broadband deals in your area.