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Streaming Speeds

How much speed do you need to stream video to your TV or to run your office? How can you purchase enough, but not waste money on too much?

Many people are paying more for their Internet service than they should. Although a Maserati GranTurismo MC has a top speed of 187 mph, it doesn't mean you should buy a family car with a top speed over 100 mph. If you won’t use it, you don't need it.? ? I talked to an older couple recently whose "knowledgeable" children said they couldn't get Comcast because they needed fiber. The "knowledgeable" children didn't know as much as they thought they did.

For streaming you'll just need download speeds. But for video conferencing or gaming you must also be concerned about upload speeds.

The Office

Check with your IT consultant and work out your needs. Don't do what your ISP suggests without confirming with your computer consultant. For example, if your Firewall can process only 80 Mbps, then paying for 300 Mbps isn't cost-effective. On the other hand, if you have 10 employees who use the Internet, a 300 Mbps connection will only provide 30 Mbps each, if they were all using it.

The speed is affected not only by what you can receive, but also how fast your connection will send it to you. If they will only send files to you at 30 Mbps, you can't receive them any faster. The biggest thing to understand is how many people will be using it simultaneously, and what your equipment can handle. That includes modems, routers firewalls and switches.


Both Comcast (Xfinity) and Ziply offer home Internet starting at 50 Mbps. If you have three people streaming three different videos at the same time, you'll need three times the speed. If you will only be watching one at a time. 50 Mbps should handle 2 Ultra HD 4k TVs simultaneously.? ?

I am not addressing people who still have DSL connections.

Wifi Calling

For WiFi calling, you'll need about 1 Mbps, or 2% of the lowest offered by Ziply or Xfinity.


Video calling, including group video calling. High quality (HD): 1080p: 3.8 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up
For gallery view receiving: 2.0 Mbps (25 views), 4.0 Mbps (49 views)
Webinar Panelist: 1080p ~2-3 Mbps (down)

Streaming Video

I'll give you the HD (1080p level) and then the 4k UltraHD level for each. I'm not even going to mention the lesser requirements for standard TV
  • Netflix: For HD 5 Mbps. / For 4k: 15 Mbps
  • YouTube: For HD 5 Mbps. / For 4k 20 Mbps
  • Amazon Prime: For HD 5 Mbps / For 4k 25 Mbps
  • Hulu: For HD 6 Mbps / For 4k 16 Mbps
  • HBO Max: For HD: 5 Mbps / For 4k 50 Mbps
  • Apple TV+: For 4k 25 Mbps
  • Paramount+: At least 4 Mbps. They give you what you can handle.

You'll notice that their recommended speeds are pretty stable at 5 Mbps for HD, but vary significantly for 4k TV. Why? There are many factors. Here are two I've figured out.
  1. They compress files on transmission then decompress to display. Different vendors will compress differently. More compression means you need less speed, but may lose quality when decompressed for display. So a 4k streaming video might not be quite as good as a 4k Blu-ray video.
  2. Some vendors may give the lowest numbers possible to get people in the door, while others may make their recommendations artificially high to reduce consumer complaints about problems.

Testing your speed

You should check your contract with your ISP to determine what speed you are paying for. Then test your speed and see if it comes close. If you are not using an Ethernet cable, but using WiFi instead, then this test should be close to your router. You'll lose speed as you move further away. This will let you know if you are paying for more than you get.

If your TV will be using WiFi, or you'll use your laptop in another room from your router, then test again there. Comcast has much higher download speeds than upload speeds, while for Ziply they seem to be the same. Except for video conferencing and gaming, download speeds are what is important.

I find the fastest and easiest way to test your speed is from https://fast.com. The test is fast and the name is easy to remember. I also find it accurate. Different tests have somewhat different results, so this is not exact. You are trying to get an approximation, not precision. However, if you are paying for 300 Mbps and getting 8 Mbps there is a problem somewhere. It doesn't matter if your true speed is 6 or 10.

Remember to test from where your TV is if it will use WiFi. If you need more information than just the download speeds, Fast.com has a More Information link to provide upload speed as well.

Other speeds include these:

Date: May 2022

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