How Much Speed Do I Need to Stream Video?

Everyone wants to know how much speed you need to watch popular streaming services without interruption. And we’re not surprised by the number of questions on this topic. Streaming services continue to surge in popularity, and each service addresses its speed recommendations differently. They also don’t make those recommendations easy to find on their sites. But we did the digging for you and found those little nuggets of information you need to stream in peace.

Internet speed requirements for:

Before we get started, you may want to test your internet speed first so you can compare it to the recommended speeds.

internet speed test button

How Much Speed You Need for:


Netflix internet speed requirements

Those speeds are based on one streaming device. So if you plan to have multiple people streaming different shows at the same time, you’ll need to add the numbers together. For example, if you think you may have Netflix streaming simultaneously on a tablet, a phone, and a smart TV, you’ll need 3 Mbps each, for a total of 9 Mbps.

How Much Speed You Need for:

Apple TV internet speed requirements

Apple bases its speed recommendations on three tiers of picture quality: Standard Definition, Mid-Definition, and High Definition. This keeps things simple. Be sure to add extra speed if you plan to stream multiple shows at once.

How Much Speed You Need for:

Hulu internet speed requirements

Hulu’s speed recommendations are based partly on picture quality and partly on the type of content you’re watching. It has two speed recommendations for streaming content and a third for live content. Hulu doesn’t give a specific recommendation for multiple streaming devices, but it does warn that “concurrent streams may require higher bandwidth.”

How Much Speed You Need for:

Amazon Video internet speed requirements

Amazon keeps its speed recommendations simple. Amazon doesn’t make a recommendation for multiple devices streaming at once, but it does caution users that the service won’t work properly if their connection uses a proxy server. (A proxy server is a remote computer that stands in for another computer to manage its internet connections. This is different from an Internet Service Provider.) Proxy servers are usually used to hide your location. Most users won’t have any reason to worry about proxy servers.

How Much Speed You Need for:

YouTube internet speed requirements

YouTube does the best job of making its internet speed recommendations easy to understand. YouTube even makes sure to warn users its recommendations are per device and recommends adding 3 Mbps for each device streaming in SD at the same time.

How Much Speed You Need for:

Sling TV internet speed requirements

Sling TV issues its speed recommendations based on the type of device you plan to use. Sling TV’s speed recommendations account for needing more speed for concurrent streaming. They also use the phrasing “constant speed of 3 Mbps.” This means having internet service that occasionally reaches 3 Mbps but is usually slower won’t be fast enough for this service to work properly.

How Much Speed You Need for:

PlayStation™ Vue internet speed requirements

PlayStation™ Vue doesn’t break down its speed recommendations into tiers of picture quality the way Netflix does. Instead it offers a flat recommendation of 10 Mbps. It also recommends an additional 5 Mbps for each additional device streaming simultaneously. Remember, these speeds need to be added together to get the accurate speed recommendation. For example, three streaming devices operating at the same time will need a total of 20 Mbps: 10 Mbps for the first device, 5 Mbps for the second device, and 5 Mbps for the third device.

How Much Speed You Need for:

HBO GO internet speed requirements

HBO Go provides exclusive streaming content at the high quality you’ve come to expect from HBO. Its minimum speed recommendation is 3 Mbps, and it doesn’t give any specifics beyond that. However, with the huge, cinematic scope of HBO Go programs like Game of Thrones, you’ll want the best quality possible, so we recommend going with a bit more speed. You can assume streaming on multiple devices—especially in HD—will put you in the “higher” category.

How Much Speed You Need for:

SHOWTIME internet speed requirements

SHOWTIME makes its recommendations based on device. As with all these services (even with the ones who fail to mention it, like SHOWTIME), if you plan on streaming multiple shows at once, you’ll need more speed.

How Much Speed You Need for:

STARZ OBSESSABLE internet speed requirements

The STARZ network standalone streaming service, STARZ OBSESSABLE, requires a minimum of 2.5 Mbps, but recommends 6 Mbps for a better experience. While STARZ doesn’t specifically say the higher tier is for HD programming, it does mention that most of the programs it offers are in HD. If the recommendation is for optimal performance, one can assume that includes HD. STARZ also doesn’t mention needing higher speeds for streaming multiple programs at once, but any time you’re using more bandwidth, you’ll need more speed.

How Much Speed You Need for:

DIRECT NOW internet speed requirements

DIRECTV NOW lists three different speed recommendations based on three different categories that seem to overlap. This results in unclear speed requirements. It also list two of those speed recommendations as ranges, which only adds to the confusion. Although these recommendations are confusing, you can get a clearer picture based on the speed recommendations from the other services. Think of 2.5 Mbps as the minimum recommended speed, 7.5 Mbps as the speed for HD, and 12 Mbps as the speed for streaming on multiple devices at once.

How Much Speed You Need for:

vudu logo

VUDU internet speed requirements

The VUDU speed suggestions are separated into three tiers based on picture quality. VUDU is all about movies, so for the best experience you’re going to want to err on the high end of the speed recommendations. As expected, if you plan to view multiple streams at once, you’ll need more speed

How Much Speed You Need for:

Crackle internet speed requirements

 Crackle says it’s capable of delivering “very high quality video streams.” It goes on to mention that these streams work best with higher internet speeds, yet its actual speed recommendation is among the lowest. Based on the other speeds recommended in this article, we suggest higher speeds than Crackle’s recommendation for better quality.

How Much Speed You Need for:

CinemaNow internet speed requirements

Just like Apple TV and VUDU, CinemaNow’s speed requirements are tiered by picture resolution. But unlike those services, it use ranges. So if you want to know the minimum speed required, go with the low end of the range. Don’t forget that you’ll need a higher speed to stream more than one show at a time.

How Much Speed You Need for:

Acorn TV internet speed requirements

Acorn TV cites only a minimum speed requirement. For higher-quality streams, especially on multiple devices, you’ll want more speed.

If your service isn’t fast enough for your streaming service, you’re probably due for an upgrade. We’ll help you find the fastest Internet Service Providers in your area by entering your zip code in the box below.

Keep in mind that even if your internet speed meets the recommended speed of the streaming service you’re using, you could still have trouble with the quality of your video. If this happens, you may have other devices in your household using up your internet bandwidth. For example, if you’re trying to stream an HD video while someone else in the house is gaming online, you may experience poor video quality at low to mediocre internet speeds.

For a more comprehensive speed recommendation, check out our How Much Speed Do You Need? tool. Just click the button below, and the tool will calculate how much internet speed you need to fuel all the online activities happening in your home.

Keep coming back to for answers to all your internet speed questions. We’ll be here.

How much internet speed you need button

Author -

With over five years writing about the internet industry, John has developed a deep knowledge of internet providers and technology. Prior to writing professionally, John graduated with a degree in strategic communication from the University of Utah. His education and experience make his writing easy to understand, even when covering complex topics. John’s work has been cited by, PCMag, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and more.

Share This