How Much Data Does Netflix Use?

Picture it:  You’re in the middle of streaming your favorite television show or movie on Netflix, a bowl of popcorn in your lap, ready for the upcoming scene–and halt–it pauses to buffer.  What a buzz kill!  Thankfully, if you’re aware of how much data your internet service allows for and how much Netflix uses, you can avoid the Saturday-night-streaming blues altogether!

General Streaming Information

In order to avoid any streaming issues, you should probably know Netflix’s general data usage stats.  Typically, Netflix uses about 1GB of data for every hour it is used in standard definition, and 3GB of data for every hour of streaming in high definition.  This can be bad news if your internet service has a data cap, or if you have a monthly bandwidth.

Can I Adjust My Data Usage?

Good news: yes!  The bad news? The video quality might be compromised. Keep reading for more details.

What Options Does Netflix Give Me?

Netflix has four data usage settings for its streaming service: low, medium, high, and auto.  Low uses a mere .3 GB of standard definition data an hour, but also delivers the lowest quality. Medium comes in second at .7 GB an hour, and high uses up to 3GB an hour for high definition streaming.  Auto, the fourth usage setting, automatically gives you the best streaming based on whatever your internet connection speed might be at any given time.  This is best for people who are much more concerned with avoiding a buffering movie with a mouthful of popcorn–not for those concerned about saving some cash.

What Option Is Best For Me?

If you’re looking for high quality video streaming and you have any internet usage restrictions, it might be best to contact your internet provider to obtain a speedier service.  This might mean you shell out a little more dough, but you will avoid skips, interruptions, and a fuzzy picture. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option for streaming Netflix when you please, there are ways that you can adjust your usage to stay within your limits.  Consequently, don’t get too upset if in the middle of your bromance date night, Rudy’s triumphant finish doesn’t quite cross the finish line.

How Can I Make A Change?

Because Netflix wants to please its customers, they allow you to change your usage in a pinch, so your life is a little easier.  Log into your account, find “Your Account,” and click on “Playback Settings” (found in the “Your Profile” section).  From there, you can decide what works best for you and your family’s lifestyle: if you’re every-nighter’s, you may want to keep streaming on high; if you only watch the occasional flick, auto might be your best bet.  If you don’t see a change immediately, don’t worry– the changes sometimes take 8 hours or so to kick in.

Essentially, it is up to you whether you’ll sacrifice quality in order to have faster streaming at a friendly budget, or choose to splurge on more expensive internet services to watch your programs in high-definition and still stream quickly.  There is an option for everyone, but the most important thing is making sure you get to the end of that movie you’ve been dying to watch!


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