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How much data does Netflix and other streaming services use?

Settling down for a night in front of the TV has changed a lot over recent years. In addition to the explosion of streaming services now available in Australia, there’s plenty more content to watch, and most of it on demand, meaning you don’t (often) have to wait a whole week to watch your favourite show. But as part of this landscape change comes a different type of change – your internet. With streaming services requiring an internet connection to watch, having a stable connection, or enough mobile data, is also a modern-day necessity if you want to stream shows and movies. But when it comes to the major streaming platforms, exactly how much data do they use? Find out with this Canstar Blue guide.

How much data does streaming use?

Video streaming uses between 300MB and 7GB per hour, depending on the application and the selected video quality. Those on a slower internet connection type, or don’t have a lot of data to play with, may find it better to opt for a lower quality, as it generally uses up to around 700MB per hour.

In this guide we’ll look at how much data the major streaming services use, including:

If you’re not sure how much data you’ll need for all your phone and streaming needs, check out our guide on data usage to help you find the best fit.

NBN Plans to consider for streaming

The following table shows a selection of sponsored unlimited data Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50), and Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost (excluding discounts), from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The table below shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

How much data does Netflix use?

Netflix uses between 300MB and 7GB of data per hour, depending on the quality you have the app set to. Video quality can be adjusted in your account settings, with most accounts are set to ‘Auto’, which adjusts the resolution based on your internet quality. Netflix data usage on your computer or television varies based on the quality of stream you select. Netflix data usage is as follows:

  • Low: 300MB per hour
  • Medium (Standard Definition): 700MB per hour
  • High (High Definition): Up to 3GB per hour
  • Ultra HD (also known as 4K): Up to 7GB per hour

How much data does Netflix use on a phone?

Watching Netflix on your mobile phone generally uses much less data than watching on a computer or television. Netflix data usage on phones is as follows:

  • Low: 250MB per hour
  • Medium (Standard Definition): 500MB per hour
  • High (High Definition): 1GB per hour
  • Unlimited: This is recommended only if you have a plan with lots of mobile data as it uses up to 3GB per hour or more

You can of course adjust these settings, and if you’re really concerned about your data usage, you can set Netflix to run only on Wi-Fi.

How much data does Stan use?

Stan uses between 570MB and 7GB of data per hour, depending on the quality you have the application set to. The app breaks its stream quality down into four categories, which are:

  • Low (Standard Definition): 570MB per hour
  • Medium (Standard Definition): 1.13GB per hour
  • High (High Definition): 2.89GB per hour
  • Ultra (Ultra High Definition): 7GB per hour

Similarly to Netflix, you can set Stan to auto-configure to your internet connections, ensuring you don’t run into any buffering issues.

How much data does Foxtel Now use?

Foxtel Now uses between 470MB and 3.2GB of data per hour, depending on the quality of the stream. Data usage for Foxtel Now can be broken down as follows:

  • Low: 470MB
  • Medium (Standard Definition):4GB
  • High (High Definition):2GB

Foxtel Now currently does not having an Ultra High Definition streaming quality, but does also allow you to stream unmetered if you’re also on a Foxtel broadband plan.

NBN plans for video streaming

Video streaming uses a lot of data, but luckily most NBN providers have a solution – unlimited NBN plans. Most NBN plans on the market offer unlimited data, letting you stream to your heart’s content. Consider shopping around for one if you enjoy streaming shows from Netflix and Stan – you might find one with better value! You can find NBN plans in the table below.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

How much data does Disney+ use?

Disney+ uses between 600MB and 7.7GB of data per hour, depending on the quality of the stream and the device you’re using. Disney+ offers automatic settings, as well as a Moderate setting and a Save Data option, which is considered interchangeable with Medium and High Quality. Disney+ data usage on mobile devices is as follows:

  • Save Data (Standard Definition equivalent): 600MB
  • Auto (High Definition equivalent): 2GB

Disney+ also offers a Wi-Fi Only option, which allows for the highest streaming quality possible, which uses the equivalent of 2.5GB of data per hour, provided your internet connection and plan can handle the high-quality stream. Streaming on a web browser and Smart TV will also use more data, generally as a result of the larger screen.

How much data does BINGE use?

BINGE uses between 300MB and 3.25GB of data per hour, depending on the streaming quality you choose. BINGE only offers two streaming qualities, with their data usage detailed below:

  • Standard Definition (360p-540p): 300MB-500MB
  • High Definition (720p-1080p):5GB-3.25GB

It should be noted that High Definition streaming is only available on both the Standard and Premium plans, with the Basic Plan only coming with Standard Definition streaming capabilities.

How much data does YouTube use?

YouTube uses between 260MB and 2.7GB of data per hour, depending on what quality you’re using. Data usage estimates of YouTube videos on select qualities are as follows:

  • 480p Quality: 260MB
  • 720p Quality: 870MB
  • 1080p Quality:65GB
  • 4K Quality:7GB

YouTube also allows you to choose your quality settings, or select Auto, with video quality going down to 144p, which would use significantly less data, but you may be left stuck watching a very grainy video as a result.

How much data does Amazon Prime Video use?

Amazon Prime Video doesn’t publicly disclose its data usage, but online estimates put it between 700MB to 7GB depending on the video quality. Amazon Prime Video also grades it quality slightly different to other streaming platforms, detailed below:

  • ‘Good Quality’ (480p quality): 700MB-900MB
  • ‘Better Quality’ (1080p quality): 2GB
  • ‘Best Quality’ (4K quality): 6GB-7GB

As the numbers are based on online estimates, if you’re worried about how much data Amazon Prime Video is using, you can always track the data on your phone to determine what quality suits you, or if your data plan can handle the quality you prefer.

How much data does Kayo use?

Kayo uses between 300MB and 3.25GB of data per hour, depending on the quality you’re streaming in. The breakdown of Kayo’s data usage is detailed below:

  • Low Definition (360p): 300MB
  • Standard Definition (480p): 500MB
  • High Definition (720p):5GB
  • High Definition (1080p):25GB

You can also change Kayo’s quality by setting it to Auto, allowing the stream to suit your internet connection to avoid any buffering issues.

Here is a breakdown of the data usages of each streaming platform, with all figures based on an hourly usage, and produced from each service’s respective website.

Streaming Service Low Definition (<480p) Standard Definition (480p) High Definition (720p-1080p) 4K Definition
Netflix 300MB 700MB 3GB 7GB
Stan 570MB 1.13GB 2.9GB 7GB
Foxtel Now 470MB 1.4GB 3.2GB N/A
Disney+ N/A 600MB 2GB N/A
BINGE 300MB 400MB 1.5GB-3.25GB N/A
YouTube N/A 260MB 870MB-1.65GB 2.7GB
Amazon Prime Video N/A 700MB-900MB 2GB 6GB-7GB
Kayo 300MB 500MB 1.5GB-3.25GB N/A

Phone plans for video streaming

If you love streaming Netflix and Stan on the go, you’ll need a phone plan with lots of data. There are tonnes of phone plans that offer large amounts of data, and if you look around for the right plan, you might find the perfect plan for your needs. For example, Optus offers 10GB of streaming data for Netflix, Stan and ABC Kids on its Epic Data prepaid plans, but you might find cheaper data deals elsewhere Check out the table below to find the perfect phone plan for you.

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use Canstar Blue’s phone plan comparison tool to see a wide range of plans on offer from mobile providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

How to reduce data usage while streaming

There are a number of ways to reduce the amount of data you use while catching up on the latest episode or settling in for movie night, including:

  • Watching in a lower quality: Dropping the quality is the easiest way to also drop your data usage, but it won’t be for everyone, as sacrificing the quality can impact the viewing pleasure. Changing the quality can generally be done in settings, and can generally be changed at any time.
  • Watching offline: Downloading an episode while on your home Wi-Fi and watching it out and about will help cut down on your data usage, although not every streaming service will allow you to download content.
  • Switch to Wi-Fi: If you’re at home, or you find a place that offers free Wi-Fi, you can always use that instead of your mobile data to stream videos. However, public or free Wi-Fi may not be as secure as your home connection, and you’ll have to ensure your home Wi-Fi can handle the amount of streaming you plan on bingeing.
  • Change data settings on your phone: If you can’t trust yourself to stop after one episode, you can set data limits or reminders on your phone to notify you when you’re close to your data limit for the month, allowing you to reign in the streaming. While it doesn’t really stop the problem, it may help you ration your data a bit more.

And if you don’t want to sacrifice quality or limit how much you watch on the go, you can always look around for an unlimited data mobile plan, or think about upgrading your internet plan to keep pace. While these will obviously cost you a bit more than lowering the quality or watching offline, if you can’t handle videos in 360p, bumping up the phone plan may be the most convenient option.

Unlimited data phone plans

If you’re concerned about chewing through your monthly data allowance, you might want to pick up an unlimited data phone plan. Having an unlimited data phone plan means you don’t need to worry about running out of data, and although it might be slower once you reach the end of your monthly allowance, you can just keep going. You can find unlimited data phone plans in the table below.

The following table shows selected published Optus SIM-only postpaid plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows selected published Telstra SIM-only postpaid plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows selected published Vodafone SIM-only postpaid plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

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