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What Broadband Speed Do I Need for Netflix Streaming?

There are plenty of streaming services and binge-able series to watch at your convenience, but when you're all set for a night in front of the tele, buffering and poor-quality definition can hamper the viewing experience you pay to use. To make sure you can always watch a new series or your favourite films, we have created this guide on what broadband speed you need for Netflix and other streaming services.

This guide will provide answers to:

What broadband speed do I need for Netflix in Ultra HD?

The broadband speeds required for different streaming platforms largely remain the same as they provide the same service, whether that's Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or BBC iPlayer. However, the quality level you wish to stream in, greatly affects the broadband speed you need to make it a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Here’s some information about the top 3 providers, as well as what you’ll need for standard viewing, HD, and Ultra HD options.

Standard Viewings: 3 Mbps
HD Viewings: 5 Mbps
Ultra HD Viewings: 25 Mbps

Standard Viewings: 0.9 Mbps
HD Viewings: 3.5 Mbps
Ultra HD Viewings: 25 Mbps

Standard Viewings: 1.5 Mbps
HD Viewings: 2.8 Mbps
Ultra HD Viewings: N/A

Ultra HD viewing at 25Mbps may not sound demanding for your broadband but if you're in a home with multiple devices connected at once whilst streaming you will likely need much faster speeds to accommodate everyone. For instance, Ultra HD viewing on two different TVs at the same time will require at least 50Mbps to perform without issues. However, this isn't taking into account any mobile devices, tablets or laptops that are likely to be connected too.

For most family homes or busy broadband users, Superfast Plus broadband is perfect to keep everyone online and happy with a smooth service.

Young family sat watching TV together

What broadband speed do I need for a Smart TV?

To enjoy the luxuries of a smart TV, you need a fast and reliable broadband speed. A Smart TV is a hub for all your streaming platforms, provider of advanced gaming experiences and other handy functions. They also have a higher picture quality for streaming as standard, such as Ultra HD (also known as 4K Ultra HD), which requires a higher broadband speed of at least 25Mbps.

Couple watching Netflix together

What's the minimum download speed needed for Netflix?

Streaming on a platform like Netflix requires you to download data from the internet for the service to operate. When you start to watch any content, your internet-connected device will be downloading packets of the video data as you go. This is different to more traditional methods of recording or entirely downloading video content before being able to start watching. Streaming provides a faster and more convenient service.

The video data you have downloaded is temporarily stored in the memory of your device, typically contained within the streaming app's storage allowance. Streaming in this fashion ensures a seamless experience as you watch buffer-free and high-quality definition video.

To watch Netflix, you theoretically only need 3Mbps of broadband speed which will provide a standard-definition picture. However, we would advise at least 25Mbps to enjoy streaming in Ultra HD (4K).

Woman watching a video on her phone

Does Netflix upload data while streaming?

Streaming on Netflix and other similar platforms requires your devices to download data while watching video content and this is the main direction of data transfer when streaming. Uploading typically plays little to no role while using any streaming service and doesn't need to be considered as a factor when gauging the right broadband speed for your home.

Broadband fit for streaming

Finding broadband that's fit for streaming can be more difficult than it sounds, as even with the knowledge of the best broadband speeds to stream TV, you also need to take into account your whole home's internet usage. This depends on how many devices your home has connected to the Wi-Fi at once and the number of people who regularly use the internet. 

For families of 3-4 internet users, both Superfast and Superfast Plus have enough broadband speed to keep everyone happy. However, busier homes with 5 users and above will require Superfast Plus or Ultrafast to cater for such simultaneous internet use. 

If you would like to find out more about internet use and the right speeds for your home, please see our expert guide, what is a good broadband speed.

Average download speed
Contract length
Wi-Fi plus
Pay per Call ? Calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles cost the same, day or night.
Optional call packages
Climate positive
Award-winning customer service
Usual price
12 or 24 months
Optional add-on
Winter promo saving
Superfast Plus
12 or 24 months
Optional add-on
Winter promo saving
*dependent on Ultrafast package chosen
12 or 24 months
Optional add-on