Minimum Speed Requirements for US Market Streaming Movies

Broadband speeds are expressed in megabits per second (Mbps), or how much data travels to your home each second. To have smooth standard definition video, a connection that is more than 2 Mb/s is recommended. For HD, 3D, or 4K, that speed is much higher. It's also different depending on the service that streams the videos. Hence, you need decent broadband to stream it.

Even if you are paying for fast internet service, the speed you get can fluctuate, with the speed dropping at peak viewing times, such as right after work. During these times, services such as Netflix may compensate for a slower connection by downgrading the video quality you see. And if most of your streaming devices are connected to the internet wirelessly, the Wi-Fi network in your home—which is created by your router—can also affect performance.

If your internet seems slow, it’s time to make sure you’re getting the speed you need, both from your internet service provider and the Wi-Fi setup in your home. But the first step is to have a realistic idea of how much broadband you need.

 How can your internet connection keep up? We’ll help you figure it out. When looking at the recommended speeds for each platform below extending contents( how much speed recommended for these mainstream medias), make sure to add up all the different services that could be running at the same time. And don’t forget to budget a few Mbps for people who might be trying to work while everyone else is streaming.

To be simple, summary the minimum speed requirement cross the mainstream media as below figure, you can see the bit rates needed to different resolution entertainment stream. (“Kbps” indicates kilobits per second.)

Minimum Speed Requirements for US Market Streaming Movies

Extending Contenthow much speed recommended for these mainstream medias


These are the recommended internet connection speeds to stream movies and TV shows on Netflix:

  • 0.5 Mb/s to view standard definition movies on a laptop computer. While you can stream Netflix at speeds of 0.5 Mb/s, the quality is grainy on a large screen, much like watching an old VHS movie. Netflix recommends at least 1.5 Mb/s.
  • 3.0 Mb/s to view standard definition video (480p) on a TV.
  • 4.0 Mb/s to view high definition video (720p, 1080p).
  • 5.0 Mb/s or more for the best 1080p experience.
  • 15 Mb/s to stream 4K (but 25 Mb/s is preferred). Also recommended is a 4K Ultra TV with an HEVC decoder.

Netflix automatically adjusts the video quality to match your internet speed. If Netflix detects a slow internet speed, it will not stream high definition quality video, even if the movie or TV show is available in HD. This limits interruptions and buffering of the video but the picture quality suffers.

Minimum Speed Requirements for US Market Streaming Movies

Apple TV+

Video type Speed per device
HD streaming 8 Mbps
4K streaming 25 Mbps

The quality of video available for Apple TV+ or for movies rented or purchased through the Apple TV app can vary a lot depending on the device you’re using to stream. To take full advantage of all the features Apple offers—4K HDR video with Dolby Atmos sound—you’ll need an Apple TV 4K as well as a broadband connection of at least 25 Mbps.



These are the recommended internet connection speeds to stream video content on Hulu:

  • 3.0 Mb/s for Hulu streaming library.
  • 8.0 Mb/s for live streams.
  • 16 Mb/s for 4K Ultra HD videos.

Hulu’s speed recommendations are based on picture quality and the type of content you’re watching. Similar to other streaming providers, Hulu automatically adjusts the video quality based on internet speed. It also recommends higher speeds for live content than library content. These recommendations are also the bare minimum, so we suggest a slightly faster connection to make sure you always get the video quality you want.


Amazon Prime Video

These are the recommended internet connection speeds to stream movies and TV shows on Amazon Video:

  • 3.0 Mb/s to stream standard definition content.
  • 5.0 Mb/s to stream HD content (720p and 1080p).
  • 25 Mb/s for 4K Ultra HD videos.

Like many services, Amazon automatically adjusts the quality of your videos to serve you the highest quality picture possible based on your speed. It doesn’t have much in the way of speed recommendations, but it does warn that even if you’re watching on a supported device, you may experience issues below a certain connection speed. Since these are minimum requirements, we would recommend having a faster connection if possible.



These are the recommended internet connection speeds to stream videos on YouTube:

  • 3.0 Mb/s to stream SD content.
  • 7.0 Mb/s to stream 1080p HD content.
  • 13 Mb/s to stream 1080p HD content with other devices streaming on the same network.
  • 25 Mb/s to stream 4K videos

Like Netflix, YouTube does a great job of making its internet speed recommendations easy to understand. YouTube also points out that even if your connection can hit these numbers on a speed test, there are other factors like Wi-Fi performance, the type of connection, and the number of other devices on your network that can reduce your actual speed. We’ll talk more about other factors that affect buffering below.



Video type Speed per device
HD streaming 5 Mbps
4K UHD streaming 25 Mbps

Disney+ has speed recommendations that are on par with other streaming video services. If your connection is fast enough for 4K UHD video but you still find yourself being served low-quality video instead, it’s worth noting that some titles just aren’t available in this format.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Disney+ has instituted measures to lower bandwidth utilization, which means potentially limiting HD and UHD streaming.


Sling TV

Video type Speed per device
Streaming on portable devices 3 Mbps
Single stream 5 Mbps

Sling TV issues its speed recommendations based on the type and number of devices you plan to use, recommending at least a 25 Mbps connection if you’re going to be streaming on multiple devices. It also notes that these recommendations are for “constant speeds,” so if, for instance, you had a cable connection that slows during peak-use times, you want to make sure that your speed never dips below these requirements for Sling to run properly.



Video type Speed per device
Video streaming 3 Mbps
HD streaming 3.1 Mbps

HBO GO doesn’t give many recommendations regarding connection speed, but it does note that for mobile devices, either a 3G connection or a connection to a Wi-Fi network that meets the minimum speed is required. Its minimum requirements are also fairly low, so we recommend having a higher speed for consistent HD streaming.


SHOWTIME Streaming Service

Video type Speed per device
Video streaming 5 Mbps

SHOWTIME has only one recommendation for streaming, however, like HBO GO, it strongly recommends that mobile devices use a Wi-Fi connection, though mobile devices can also stream video with a 4G connection.



Video type Speed per device
Min. speed for video streaming 2.5 Mbps
Recommended speed for video streaming 6 Mbps

STARZ doesn’t break down its speed recommendations for different video quality or different devices. In general, it simply encourages viewers to use the latest devices and software for the best experience.



Video type Speed per device
Recommended speed for streaming 12 Mbps

AT&T gives us one speed that’s high enough to easily handle most streaming. Simple, right? Sorry, but TV from AT&T isn’t quite that straightforward. AT&T TV NOW is the streaming service formerly known as DIRECTV NOW. This is not to be confused with the new streaming service AT&T TV, which is more like a traditional cable service, complete with two-year contracts and annual price hikes. These two services should also not be confused with AT&T WatchTV, which is a third TV service provided by AT&T.


These are the recommended internet connection speeds to stream movies on Vudu:

  • 1.0 Mb/s for standard definition video.
  • 4.5 Mb/s for full high definition 1080p resolution video and high definition audio. (Vudu uses proprietary technology called HDX.)
  • 11 Mb/s or more for 4K streaming with access to Dolby Vision HDR.

VUDU offers streaming in HDX, which is a format developed by VUDU that claims a better movie experience by preserving a film’s native 24 frames per second frame rate. If your internet connection can’t maintain the required minimum speed, you can use the VUDU app to download the video in HDX format.



Video type Speed per device
HD streaming 9 Mbps

Crackle is an ad-supported streaming service, so in addition to playback issues related to your internet speed, ad blockers might interfere with your video. If you’ve checked your speed but are still having issues, try disabling your ad blocker and see if it makes a difference.


Acorn TV

Video type Speed per device
Min. speed for video streaming 1.6 Mbps

Acorn TV cites only a minimum speed requirement. This minimum is also fairly low compared to other streaming services. For higher-quality streams, especially on multiple devices, you’ll want more speed.


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