Broadband for Streaming

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Streaming is how many of us consume content these days.

In fact, according to Ofcom’s 2022 Media Nations report, 67% of UK households used subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) services such as Netflix and Disney+, while from 2017 to 2022 the share of music streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music more than doubled, from 8% to 20%.

Whether you prefer binge-watching your favourite shows or listening to amazing playlists, streaming services require strong internet for a seamless experience. But when choosing your broadband provider, how do you make sure streaming is a high priority?

Let’s talk about how to find broadband for streaming, helping you enjoy better internet speeds, picture and overall quality.

Key points

What is streaming?

Streaming means watching or listening to media content via the internet.

You don’t need to download any software or use specific equipment. Simply select what you want and play it at a time that suits you.

With streaming, you can also pause, rewind and fastforward as you please.

Speed is definitely a top consideration if you plan on switching broadband providers for improved streaming. Or you’ll get lag, buffering or other issues that disrupt your experience.

Internet speed for streaming

According to its 2022 UK Home Broadband Performance report, Ofcom states that high download speeds are important when streaming high-resolution video content.

At home, good broadband for streaming depends on which streaming platform(s) you use and the level of performance you expect.

Every streaming platform has its own recommended broadband speeds, but these fail to take into account additional bandwidth usage.

So, if there are other people in your household streaming via their devices, making video calls, or gaming online, you’ll need more bandwidth than the minimum amount.

This is something to consider carefully if you’re in shared accommodation and use student broadband.

Discover the broadband deals in your area for optimal streaming.


What broadband speed do I need for a smart TV?

To stream seamlessly on a smart TV, consider:

You can adjust your TV's streaming resolution for each platform you use, meaning there’s no optimal speed for streaming via a smart TV

But, if you live in a busy household with multiple devices streaming, faster internet could mean a better experience. And less arguments.

Compare TV packages to see what kind of deals you can get on broadband for streaming.

Minimum broadband speed for Netflix

As one of the most popular streaming platforms, Netflix has its own broadband speed recommendations:

Netflix also advises that video quality will depend on your chosen plan, your device’s capabilities, and your account’s data usage settings.


Broadband speed for streaming on other platforms

Generally speaking, the bandwidth you’ll need for smooth streaming is about the same for each platform.

But here are the recommendations for broadband streaming from some of the most popular streaming providers:

Amazon Prime Video

Prime Video recommends a minimum download speed of 1Mbps for Standard (SD) content and 5Mbps for High definition (HD) content.

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer advises that its shows stream at up to 5Mbps, depending on your device’s capabilities.

Standard content is streamed at 1.5Mbps.

The BBC also stipulates that you may need more bandwidth than this, so be sure to weigh up your options thoroughly before choosing any plan.


YouTube recommends a minimum download speed of 1.1Mbps for Standard (SD) videos, 5Mbps for HD, and 20Mbps for 4K Ultra HD.

Listening to music and making video calls don’t typically use as much bandwidth as streaming movies or TV programmes.

However, gaming via a streaming service will affect your connectivity, on account of the frame rate refresh, so you must make sure you have high enough broadband speed to handle it.

Consider 100Mbps broadband for effortless streaming across all your favourite media.

How do you check your broadband speed for streaming

Use our broadband speed test to check your internet speed before streaming anything.

Fibre broadband connections can deliver speeds that are nearly equivalent to the ones advertised by the provider because the fibre cables prevent the signal weakening over long distances.

Internet delivered through standard (ADSL) connection uses copper wires attached to your phone line. So speeds will vary depending on how far you live from your local telephone exchange, and they can also change during periods of inclement weather.

Live in a remote location? Your broadband connectivity could be easily interrupted, and you might benefit from comparing rural broadband deals.

Streaming internet providers

When it comes to broadband for streaming, consider these internet providers:

Compare broadband deals to decide which provider suits your streaming needs.

Looking for a more flexible plan? Check out our broadband bundles.