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Best broadband for streaming

Looking for cheap broadband? Compare prices from top providers and get a great deal

Broadband deals come in all shapes and sizes, but not every deal is fit for streaming content. As a rule, you generally want to look for deals with speeds of 15Mbps or above, but keep in mind that the faster your broadband, the smoother the experience will be when watching online content.

Our expert team will run through everything you need to know to start streaming online, including the speeds you need and the providers that are worth looking out for.

What broadband speed do I need for streaming?

Broadband deals that offer speeds of 15Mbps or above are suitable for streaming video content from platforms such as BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Every streaming platform will have its own recommended broadband speeds, but you’ll find that most platforms feel consistent with speeds of at least 15Mbps.

If you want to stream content at a higher resolution, say in 4K and with HDR enabled, then you’ll want to aim for speeds higher than 15Mbps. Speeds of 25Mbps and above will allow for a smoother experience when watching at a higher resolution, with minimal to no buffering.

Keep in mind that streaming live 4K content requires more bandwidth, with speeds of 50Mbps or above being most suitable. A high broadband speed is always beneficial when streaming, as it encourages the resolution to maintain a consistent rate and negates buffering issues. However, you don’t necessarily need to invest in a 100Mbps package.

What is the best broadband speed for streaming TV services?

Each streaming platform has slightly different requirements when it comes to streaming video content. While these are helpful guidelines, you’ll find that most platforms perform very similarly at speeds of 15Mbps or above.

It’s important to note that these recommendations don’t account for other activities that may be taking place. If you live in a house with other people who are streaming or gaming online, you’ll need a broadband connection with faster-than-recommended speeds.

Best broadband speed to stream Netflix

Video quality Resolution Minimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720p3Mbps
Full high definition (FHD)1080p5Mbps
Ultra-high definition (UHD)4K15Mbps

Netflix recommends speeds as low as 3Mbps to watch content in high definition. However, you’ll likely want to aim for at least full high definition since the picture quality of the latter can be poor. Due to Netflix’s subscription terms, watching content in 4K requires a more expensive membership, so you may not need to invest in a faster package, depending on your Netflix subscription.

Best broadband speed to stream Amazon Prime Video

Video quality Resolution Minimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720p1Mbps
Full high definition (FHD)1080p5Mbps
Ultra-high definition (UHD)4K15Mbps

Amazon Prime Video recommends similar broadband speeds to Netflix for streaming video content on its platform. You can access 4K video in the standard subscription, but you’ll need a faster internet connection to maintain a streamlined experience.

Best broadband speed for Apple TV+

Video quality Resolution Minimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720p5Mbps
Full high definition (FHD)1080p8Mbps
Ultra-high definition (UHD)4K25Mbps

Apple TV+ requires a faster broadband connection to stream content in 4K, but the full high definition speeds are in line with most other streaming platforms.

Best broadband speed for Disney Plus

Video quality Resolution Minimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720pN/A
Full high definition (FHD)1080p5Mbps
Ultra-high definition (UHD)4K25Mbps

For Disney Plus, speeds of 5Mbps or higher will suffice for content streamed in full high definition, while speeds of 25Mbps or above are best suited for 4K content.

Best broadband speed for NOW TV

Video quality Resolution Minimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720p2.5Mbps
Full high definition (FHD)1080p12Mbps

NOW TV recommends speeds of at least 2.5Mbps to stream content in high definition. Speeds of around 12Mbps will be suitable for streaming in full high definition and the company sadly still does not offer content in 4K.

Best broadband speed for YouTube

Video quality Resolution Minimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720p2.5Mbps
Full high definition (FHD)1080p5Mbps
Ultra-high definition (UHD)4K20Mbps

Google claims that you should be aiming for speeds as high as 20Mbps if you want to stream content in 4K. Keep in mind that these recommendations are for premium videos on YouTube, such as movies, TV shows and live shows, and not for regular content uploaded to the platform.

Best broadband speed for BBC iPlayer

Video quality Resolution Minimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720p1.5Mbps
Full high definition (FHD)1080p5Mbps
Ultra-high definition (UHD)4K24Mbps

BBC iPlayer content can be enjoyed with a wide range of broadband speeds, although you’ll need to opt for a faster package to indulge in 4K content. It is also worth noting that BBC iPlayer refers to 720p content as “Standard Definition”.

Best broadband speed for ITVX

Video quality Resolution Minimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720p1Mbps
Full high definition (FHD)1080p12Mbps
Ultra-high definition (UHD)4K20Mbps

ITVX does not state the ideal speeds needed to stream content in FHD or 4K. However, our expert team recommends speeds of at least 12Mbps to watch TV shows and movies in full high definition and 20Mbps for 4K.

What is the best broadband speed for music streaming services?

In the same vein as video platforms, music streaming services have recommended speeds to effectively stream content. Due to the nature of streaming music, the speeds required are much lower than they are for streaming video content. Despite the slower speeds required, you’ll still want to aim for at least the minimum speeds to avoid stuttering or drops in your connection.

Music streaming platformMinimum recommended broadband speed (standard quality)
Spotify (mobile)0.096Mbps
Spotify (desktop)0.16Mbps
Apple Music (mobile)0.256Mbps
Apple Music (desktop)0.256Mbps
YouTube Music (mobile) 0.26Mbps
YouTube Music (desktop) 0.26Mbps
Amazon Music (mobile)1.5Mbps
Amazon Music (desktop)1.5Mbps

What is the best broadband speed for streaming gaming services?

When it comes to streaming games online, you’ll need a stronger broadband connection due to the graphical intensity of current titles. Our team has catalogued the required speeds for different consoles and platforms. However, it’s important to note that to play without buffering and at a high resolution, you’ll generally want to aim for speeds of 25Mbps or more.

Best broadband speeds for the PlayStation 5/PlayStation 4

Video quality ResolutionMinimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720p5Mbps
Full high definition (FHD)1080p15Mbps
Ultra-high definition (UHD)4K38Mbps

Best broadband speeds for the Xbox Series X/Xbox One

Video quality ResolutionMinimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720p3.5Mbps
Full high definition (FHD)1080p15Mbps
Ultra-high definition (UHD)4K25Mbps

Best broadband speeds for the Nintendo Switch

Video quality ResolutionMinimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720p3Mbps

Best broadband speeds for PC/Mac

Video quality ResolutionMinimum recommended broadband speed
High definition (HD)720p5Mbps
Full high definition (FHD)1080p15Mbps
Ultra-high definition (UHD)4K30Mbps

Broadband for streaming FAQs

100Mbps broadband deals are more than fast enough to stream content, whether it be video, music or games. 100Mbps is also fast enough to allow you to stream in 4K or HDR.

Many providers offer broadband and TV packages with adequate speeds for streaming. Look to providers such as Virgin Media, BT Broadband, Sky Broadband and TalkTalk for high speeds and a plethora of additional TV services.

Some of the best broadband providers in the country offer streaming packages that are viable for a wide range of households. If you want the fastest broadband, EE offers speeds of up to 1,130Mbps, while Plusnet has one of the highest customer satisfaction scores of 89 per cent, according to the latest Ofcom data.

Finding the best broadband in your area is another important factor. Not every provider will offer the same speeds in each region, making it important to compare when looking for a good broadband streaming package.

If you desire faster internet speeds, you should check your current broadband speeds to get an idea of how much you need to upgrade. Changing your broadband deal is a simple process; contact your broadband provider and pay any cancellation fees, if applicable, then set up a date for the new deal to begin.

If you want to find out how to measure your broadband speeds, consult our speed checker guide.

Gemma Ryles, Home Tech Expert.

Gemma Ryles

Home Tech Writer

Gemma Ryles is a BJTC and PPA-accredited journalist with three years of experience writing across various publications. As a home tech expert at Independent Advisor, Gemma tests, researches and writes about broadband and home security. 

Previously, Gemma reviewed and curated lists about consumer technology at Trusted Reviews, where she honed her skills in creating buying guides and features to help customers make informed decisions. She has previously worked at Yorkshire Post, BBC Yorkshire, Glitterbeam Radio and Bonus Stage. 

Gemma has a BA in Journalism and in her free time can be found writing short stories, gaming and crocheting. 

Molly Dyson

Editor

After growing up with a passion for writing, Molly studied journalism and creative writing at university in her home country of the United States.

She has written for a variety of print and online publications, from small town newspapers to international magazines. Most of her 10-year career since relocating to the UK has been spent in business journalism, writing and editing for admin professionals at PA Life magazine and business travel managers at Business Travel News Europe and representing those titles at conferences around the world.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Molly is an expert in a broad range of consumer topics, that include solar panels and renewables, home improvements and home insurance, and consumer technology such as home security and VPNs.

In her free time, Molly can usually be found exploring the outdoors with her husband and their young son or gardening.