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Whether you’re paying for it, using your exes, or watching with a friend–we’re all Netflixers.
Despite ever rising quarantine competition, Netflix remains the largest streaming company in the world! In 2013 it garnished a solid 31 Emmy nominations, kicking off the streaming war. Every original streaming platform is doing everything they can to come out with original content to set them apart from everyone else.
There are some standards across all streaming platforms. The inclusion of Ultra HD content, 4K resolutions to match advanced TV’s, higher data caps, more user friendly playback settings, and more live options (including tv shows, sports, and live news streams) make it a binger’s paradise. But it comes at a cost.
Here’s a few things you can do to improve your internet connection, and ultimately your overall Netflix experience.
Before getting started on anything else, it’s good to benchmark what your internet is currently providing against where you want it to be.
Run a speed test to ensure that you’re getting what you’re paying for. If you notice that your internet plan advertises higher speeds than you’re receiving–it might be time to call up customer service. However, it’s best to run through this list to make sure you’ve done everything you can on your end.
What are Netflix’s Speed Requirements?
According to the company’s website, different video qualities require different connection speeds. Regardless of whether you’re watching on the web browser, or straight from your Roku TV Netflix suggests:
- Standard Definition Video (SD) = 3+ Mbps
- High Definition Video (HD) = 5+ Mbps
- 4K or Ultra High Definition Video (UHD) = 25+ Mbps
Most streaming services require a minimum internet speed for streaming, so check with each individual provider before subscribing.
You can avoid eating all of your Netflix bandwidth by downloading titles to watch at a later date (or even offline in case of internet outages). This is also a great alternative to streaming from your mobile device. Streaming on a wireless plan can eat up gigs (Gb) of data per hour–and even unlimited plans reduce speeds after a certain data cap.
Be careful when choosing this option on a mobile device. To save data (were talking GB’s of data) make sure you’re connected to WiFi instead of using your providers LTE plan. Otherwise, enjoy endless shows and movies wherever you go!
How to Make Netflix Use Less Bandwidth
Lower the Quality
If there are multiple devices connected to the same router or network, you’ll most likely experience some sort of buffer. Netflix does have an auto-quality feature that lowers the streaming quality of the videos if there’s not enough data to go around.
If you want to nip it in the bud ahead of time, you can drop the quality of your videos manually. 4K streaming bandwidths are the greatest, and Standard Definition requires the least. If you don’t own a 4K TV, streaming in 4K is pointless–you won’t notice the difference between HD and 4K anyway.
Save yourself the headache of needless buffer ahead of time and simply opt for HD.
Most routers and modems have the option for a wired connection with an ethernet cable. It not only improves overall internet speeds–it also prioritizes bandwidth to that specified host over its wireless counterparts.
If you have a Smart TV (one where you can access Chromecast, Disney+, Netflix, or HBO Max etc. from the moment you power it on) it might be smart to connect the TV itself directly to your box, over a gaming console or computer.
It sounds like a reprimand, but it’s just the most practical. Multiple devices streaming a large amount of content at the same time takes a toll on your internet. Bump the buffer by simply watching together. Limit the number of devices in the house watching different content. Have a family movie night, or take turns. A little compromise can go a long way!
Buy a Better Plan
This is nobody’s favorite option, but ultimately, if your download speeds are suffering–you might just have to buy a better bandwidth. As mentioned earlier, make sure you take all the steps you can on the users end to ensure you getting the best bang for your buck. But if these tips just aren’t cutting it, it might be time to muscle up and shell out.
Before taking any action, make sure you have all the information. Run An Internet Speed Test. Make sure you have the bandwidth to binge!
Paul Williams brings a wide range of experiences to his writing. He worked extensively in technology, as a software engineer, technical writer, and now a technology writer. Known as the leader of one of the top American Spacerock bands, his forward-looking music continues to be heard all over the world.