Lowering streaming resolution can substantially lower data consumption.
Internet Connection Speed Recommendations
Below are the Internet download speed recommendations per stream for playing movies and TV shows through Netflix.
- 0.5 Megabits per second – Required broadband connection speed
- 1.5 Megabits per second – Recommended broadband connection speed
- 3.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for SD quality
- 5.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for HD quality
- 25 Megabits per second – Recommended for Ultra HD quality
HD Video Quality
Movies and TV shows that are available in high definition will play in 720p or better with a fast enough Internet connection. To watch Netflix in HD, ensure you have an HD plan, then set your video quality setting to High in the Playback Settings for your account.
Netflix Bandwidth Usage
Higher quality video uses more bandwidth than lower quality video. If your service provider applies a bandwidth or data cap to your Internet service, you can Manage Bandwidth Usage by changing the video quality settings to Low or Medium to consume less data.
How can I control how much data Netflix uses?
Watching movies or TV shows on Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video. This can create headaches for Netflix members who have a monthly bandwidth or data cap on their Internet service. Below, you’ll find a few ways to reduce the amount of data Netflix uses, without having to resort to drastic measures (like actually watching less Netflix).
Adjust your data usage settings
Adjusting the data usage settings for your account is the easiest way to reduce the amount of bandwidth used while watching Netflix. There are four data usage settings to choose from. Each estimate below is per stream:
- Low (0.3 GB per hour)
- Medium (SD: 0.7 GB per hour)
- High (Best video quality, up to 3 GB per hour for HD and 7 GB per hour for Ultra HD)
- Auto (Adjusts automatically to deliver the highest possible quality, based on your current Internet connection speed)
To select a setting that works best for your Internet plan, navigate to the Your Account page and select Playback settings in the Your Profile section. It can take up to 8 hours for these changes to take effect. Restricting data usage may effect video quality while watching Netflix.
Data usage settings only apply to the Netflix profile you are in when you set them, meaning you can have different data usage settings for each profile. If you are concerned about the total amount of data that Netflix uses, make sure to change this setting for each profile.