Explore the Internet Speed
for Different Streaming Activities

12 July 2019

Streaming is the activity of listening to sound or watching video directly from the internet on your computer, mobile phones, game consoles, or internet TV. It involves a continuous use of internet connection and contents are playable right away rather than having to wait until it is completely downloaded. Before exploring the internet speed for various streaming activities, the differences between upload and download speed should first be distinguished. Here are the key differences:

     • Upload speed refers to the speed you need to send content from your device to the internet such as sending a picture to a friend via chat, email, or live broadcast.
     • Download speed refers to the speed you need to receive information from the internet to your device such as saving a picture from the internet to your computer, loading a page on a website, or any downloading activities.

In order to enjoy streaming, you need to prepare your home network properly, which includes choosing the right speed. 

To get the better quality out of your video calls

Having a long-distance relationship or family? Making a video call is one of the important ways to stay connected. According to the FitSmallBusiness website, the overall call quality of a one-on-one conversation over an application is to have internet upload speed of 500 Kbps. For group video call of two or more people at the same time, at least 1 Mbps is needed. For example, Skype, a major communication tool, recommend at least 300 Kbps for both upload and download speed for one-on-one conversation with screen sharing feature. However, for high definition video calls, 1.5 Mbps is required. If you have a large family or need video conferencing of 5 or more people, then you should up your speed to 4 Mbps download and 512 Kbps upload speed. 

To enjoy super smooth movies, video, and live streaming 

According to Lifewire, the minimum recommended download speed for streaming movies, videos, live TV is more than 2 Mbps. For higher quality videos, the speed is much higher. After reviewing major content providers recommended internet speed for different video quality, here’s what we found:

     • 2 Mbps - 3 Mbps for standard definition 
     • 4 Mbps - 8 Mbps for high definition (720p  or 1080p)
     • 15 Mbps - 25 Mbps for 4K Ultra HD

To broadcast your own show with confidence 

Many social media networks such as YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram offer a live broadcast feature. It allows you to create your own show while at home for other people to see. Not only do you need a quality camera and a good microphone, you’ll need a strong internet connection as well to keep your live broadcast going. Here, your upload speed is more important and it is recommended that you have at least 2.5 Mbps. Similarly, your video quality will greatly depend on the upload speed. To live broadcast on Facebook with HD quality, you’ll need at least 4 Mbps upload speed. According to Boxcast, you need 3 Mbps for 480p, 6 Mbps for 720p, and 13 Mbps for 1080p quality.

Other things to consider before choosing internet package

Although internet speed is one of the key factors that can influence your streaming activities, there are other setups (your device, wifi routers, or wiring) or even the number of devices within the household that you should be mindful about. For example you may think a 15 Mbps internet package is suitable for HD movie streaming, but if your son is playing on a game console, your wife is watching internet TV, and a few more smartphones are also connected to the internet at any given moment, when added together, you may need to change internet package to 100 or 200 Mbps download speed. Homes with multiple devices should consider a higher speed internet package for everyone to enjoy the best experience in their online activities (see what you can do with 1 Gbps internet speed). Also, be sure to check whether your current router actually supports the speed you need.