A Tale from a Long-Ago Era in Home Video
Once upon a time, a small video-rental company launched in Dallas. The year was 1985. This small shop would quickly grow itself into an international behemoth that ruled the world of video rentals for over 20 years, with thousands of worldwide storefronts and millions of customer accounts. This company would ultimately fail and go bankrupt almost as quickly as it had become a dominant force. The company’s name? Blockbuster.
Streaming Video: The Modern ‘Blockbuster’ of Home Entertainment
Thanks largely to over-reliance on physical media, a dependence on late-fees and a failure to effectively adapt to internet-centric delivery methods, Blockbuster no longer exists. Nowadays, streaming is king. Netflix, Paramount+, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney+—all these and others might be thought of as the “Blockbusters” of modern home video.
Trips to the video store (or kiosk) have been replaced by login credentials. Rental fees have mostly been replaced by a flat monthly subscription customers pay to view as many videos as they want. And in the era of streaming home video, worry over late charges has been replaced by concerns over bandwidth and data allotment.
Do You Have Enough Bandwidth for Streaming Video?
If you subscribe to one or more streaming platforms, you know the convenience and flexibility these services offer. What you might not know is how much bandwidth you need to enjoy a clear, uninterrupted video stream. The answer depends on the video resolution you stream in.
240p: Rock-Bottom Streaming Video Data Usage
Video resolutions of 240p (progressive scan) or even lower are fairly common on YouTube. The lower the video resolution, the less data is consumed, and the lower the amount of bandwidth needed for a stable, buffer-free experience. 240p resolution requires an internet connection of 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second)—the lowest required bandwidth level on this list.
CRT Resolution Streaming Video Data Usage
Internet-video resolution comparable to that delivered by old cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs and monitors is not uncommon. This is known as “standard” resolution (480p), and Netflix offers a subscription tier at this quality. Many YouTube videos play at this resolution, too. Maintaining a stable, buffer-free stream in standard resolution requires 3.0 Mbps of bandwidth.
High Definition Streaming Video Data Usage
High Definition (HD) resolution is rated at 720p and 1080i (interlaced scan)/1080p. The superiority of this resolution over standard definition is dramatic, and it requires at least 5 Mbps of bandwidth to play smoothly and without interruption.
Ultra HD Streaming Video Data Usage
Also known as 4K (2160p), this resolution uses five times more data than HD video and requires at least 25 Mbps of bandwidth.
Data Caps: The New ‘Late Fees’ of Home Video?
Data caps have become fairly common among internet service providers (ISPs). If you’re on a plan with a cap and do lots of streaming, you have to remain continually mindful of how much data you’re consuming. For some users, staying under the cap will mean watching video in reduced resolution.
How much data does video streaming use? The answer depends, of course, on the resolution. Here’s an overview of the approximate amount of data consumed per hour by different video-quality levels on some of the most popular streaming platforms:
- Low video resolution (240p): 0.3GB (300 MB) per hour
- Medium Video resolution (480p): 0.7GB (700 MB) per hour
- High Definition: 3GB per hour
- Ultra-High Definition (4K): 7GB per hour
YouTube users can upload videos at different framerates. This fact causes data usage to be different for the same resolution across different videos; therefore, these numbers should be considered broad estimates. Actual data usage per hour can vary from user to user and video to video:
- 240p: 225MB per hour
- 480p: 562.5MB per hour
- 720p: 1856.25MB (1.86GB) per hour
- 1080p: 3.04GB per hour
- 2160p (4K): 15.98GB per hour
- 480p: 800 MB per hour
- 1080p: 2 GB per hour
- 2160p (4K): 6 GB per hour
- 480p: 680 MB per hour
- 720p: 1.3 GB per hour
- 1080p: 2.7 GB per hour
- 2160p (4K): 7 GB per hour
- 480p: 700 GB per hour
- 1080p: 2.0 GB per hour
- 2160p (4K): 7.7 GB per hour
“…mobile data use will fluctuate based on the quality of your Internet connection and varies from 74 MB per hour for the lowest connection speed, up to 800 MB per hour for the highest quality video stream.”
HBO Max doesn’t publish its data usage numbers in a straightforward way. However, the numbers for the other six services listed offer a rough estimate of how much data different video resolutions on this platform consume.
More of the Internet Faster and Without Overages or Extra Fees
At GVEC, we feel the same way about data-usage caps as people felt about late fees from a bygone era: We hate them! Why should you have to pay for extra data to stream the movies and TV shows you love? You shouldn’t!
We believe in the internet as a place of unlimited possibility, and that means no limits on how you use GVEC Fiber or how often. We’ll never cap your usage, and we’ll never hit you with extra, unexpected fees.
The World’s Fastest Internet Tech Straight Into Your Home
GVEC Fiber is built with the world’s fastest internet technology, using a 100%, hub-to-home pure-fiber-optics network. With speeds up to 1 Gbps, Fiber can deliver all the data you and your family need for gaming, working, shopping, video conferencing and, yes, streaming—no matter the resolution. Whether you’re using one device on the network or five at once or more, Fiber can handle the load, keeping everyone happy and unconstrained by data caps.
Ready to sign up? Find out if Fiber’s available to your home or sign up by calling 800.699.4832. You can also sign up at gvec.net or visit our Internet Availability page to see if Fiber is available in your neighborhood.