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14th January 2020


How much data does my streaming use?

Written by Team Pentanet

14th January 2020




Video - Ultra HD and 4k can chew up your data FAST, but you can control this in your stream settings.

Music – make sure you're connected to Wi-Fi if you’re streaming all day, every day!


Def:// ‘a method of transmitting or receiving data (especially video and audio material) over a computer network as a steady, continuous flow, allowing playback to start while the rest of the data is still being received’ - Oxford Dictionary.

So, you’d like to know more about streaming and the internet? You’ve come to the right place. If there is one thing we ‘get’, it’s the importance of a superfast internet connection to do the important stuff - like watching your favourite shows #priorities.

Whether it’s via Spotify, Stan, Netflix or YouTube, most of us stream at least semi-regularly in one way or another. Nothing is more frustrating getting 10 minutes into a show for the j-j-j-jitters to begin on your screen, or worse – the dreaded buffering wheel.

Data usage is directly related to the smoothness of our streaming. It varies greatly between service types and depends on the settings applied at the time of streaming. As a rule, the higher the quality of the file, the greater the download amount.

Spending more time at home means you’ll probably use more data for uploads and downloads. Here’s a guide for how much data normal activities use:

  • Emails - 500KB per email
  • Photos/Documents - 850KB per image
  • Streaming Video - 300MB to 7GB per hour
  • Streaming Audio - 25 to 150MB per hour
  • Internet browsing - 10 to 50MB per hour
  • Online gaming - 100MB to 1GB per hour

Did you know: You can keep an eye on your data usage in your Customer Portal!


  • 🔸 Speed is measured in Mbps – Megabits per seconds
  • 🔸 Data is measured in MB/s – Megabytes per second
  • 🔸 There are 8 bits to a byte

Let us show you the nitty-gritty of some of the most popular streaming providers and the all-important stats.


Low Quality setting will use about 300MB/Hr
Medium (Standard definition) quality uses approximately 700MB/Hr
High (HD) can use anywhere up to 3GB/Hr
Ultra HD (4k) up to 7GB/Hr

Tip: Are you streaming what you’re paying for?
Visit https://www.netflix.com/HdToggle to check your playback settings!


Low (SD): Approximately 570MB/Hr
Medium (Higher Quality SD): Up to 1.1GB/Hr
High (HD): Up to 2.9GB/Hr
Ultra HD (4K): Up to 7GB/Hr

You might find your streaming account selected the ‘Auto’ setting by default. This is a small time saver, but you’re then relying on the auto setting to adjust your viewing stream based on the quality of the service you receive.

Ever notice Netflix runs like a dream on your mobile device? Less data is also used because the settings in your mobile app do the hard work! Clever, huh?


YouTube is the world’s biggest streaming site - It’s also been one of our all-time favourites over the years!

You might have noticed it’s hard to watch one YouTube clip as they play similar files concurrently. Watching YouTube will use 300MB/Hr and if viewing on a 3G or 4G network, like a mobile device, you won’t have access to the quality settings.

YouTube videos are available in 144P through to 4K. When we watch and load any video for the first time, it will load the audio separately. This makes the file initially larger, but then the audio track is cached so when we change the resolution, YouTube will simply load the video at the resolution you choose resulting in a smaller and easier to view file. Clever stuff.

The average audio bitrate is approximately 128kbps, which is about 4MB for a 4minute song…

Video Resolution

~Size + 4MB Audio Track














Spotify’s default setting on a mobile device uses approximately 2MB+ of data per three-minute song. This equates to roughly 40MB per hour or nearly half a gigabyte every 10 hours of streaming.

Cool coolcoolcool… so what does this actually mean for me?

We hear it all the time – “I NEED top speeds and unlimited data!”. But do you really? If you’re not 100% sure – let’s chat! We’re really happy to chat about how you use your internet at home or work and guide you on the speed and data allowance that will suit your lifestyle (and budget!).

Our local support team is only a phone call away. Get in touch on (08) 9466 2670 or contact us via live chat in the bottom right corner of this page!