Internet speeds for streaming
How many Mbps you need, how much data you'll use, and how to balance satellite internet streaming with other needs.
The best internet speed for streaming
25 Mbps or higher
The best internet speed for streaming movies, TV, and music starts at 25 Mbps. With a good 25 Mbps of download speed, you’ll have enough bandwidth to stream clear audio and standard or even HD video.
Keep in mind, picture and sound quality often depend on what else is happening on your network at the time. Also, because streaming media uses more data than checking email or social media, you may want faster speeds and a higher priority data threshold for streaming on satellite internet more comfortably.
Check out our recommended speed chart for a better idea of how to balance satellite internet speeds for streaming with your other needs.
How much data does streaming music use?
Your data use for streaming music depends mostly on sound quality. The higher the bit rate (kilobits per second or kbps), the clearer the sound, but the more data it takes to listen. Below are a few common bit rates used by streaming services, along with the approximate data each one uses per hour:
|Sound quality||Bit rate||Data used per hour|
|Low||96 kbps||43 MB|
|Normal||160 kbps||72 MB|
|High||320 kbps||115 MB|
Most streaming services automatically optimize your bitrate to give you the best sound possible without running into buffering. But if you want to keep your data usage low as a rule, you can easily change the quality setting.
Note: Your data use also depends on which streaming service you use, since each streaming service may use different compression techniques and file types. If you aren’t loyal to a specific platform, you may want to experiment by tracking usage on your Viasat app with each platform.
How much data does streaming TV use?
Streaming TV, movies, and other videos uses different amounts of data depending on the picture quality. The higher the resolution, the better the video streaming quality, but the more data it takes to download. Below are the industry quality standards, along with the approximate data each one uses:
|Video quality||Resolution||Data used per hour|
|Standard definition (SD)||360p or 480p||1 GB|
|High definition (HD)||720p or 1080p||3 GB|
|Ultra-high definition (UHD 4K)||2160p||7 GB|
When you stream on Viasat for the first time, check your settings first for the default video quality. If you want to save data, you can select a lower default resolution. Or, you can let it auto-adjust to give you the best quality possible based on the current traffic on your network.
Is satellite internet good for streaming?
Like any modern internet service today, satellite internet service gives you the bandwidth you need for everyday activities—including streaming videos that randomly pop up in your news or social media feeds.
Keep in mind that even with enough internet speed for live streaming or binge-watching TV on streaming services, satellite internet networks manage data more carefully than land-based internet because of the satellite capacities. With metered plans that have hard data caps, you may see extra fees for streaming a lot, and with unlimited data plans, you might experience slower speeds after using your priority data.
With the right satellite internet plan speed and priority data level, you can find a sweet spot for streaming what you like most.
Is Viasat good for streaming?
Viasat internet for streaming tightly manages the network to help you watch videos at decent quality without eating too much into your priority data.
To help you save on data, Viasat streaming internet has several tools in place: default streaming quality for all devices, which you can change on the Viasat app; a personalized data meter, also available on the Viasat app; and the Viasat Browser, which blocks ads and preselects your streaming resolution.
|Viasat internet plan||Recommended video quality|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||360p (SD)|
|Unlimited Silver 25||480p (SD)|
|Unlimited Gold 30||720p (HD)|
|Unlimited Gold 50||720p (HD)|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||1080p (HD)|
Can you stream Netflix with satellite internet?
With satellite internet plans at 25 Mbps or higher, you should be able to stream Netflix from time to time without accruing extra data fees or slowing your speeds.
To see exactly how streaming Netflix affects your data use, check the meter on your app after streaming a movie. If you need to, you can then adjust your Netflix habits to save bandwidth for the rest of the month.
Viasat offers satellite internet for streaming. With download speeds at 25 Mbps and above, you can view higher video streaming qualities without disturbing other users on your home Wi-Fi. And with Viasat unlimited data plans, you’ll never pay extra fees for streaming video and music through the month.3
3Depending on the specific unlimited data service plan available at your location, after you use the following amount of High-Speed Data, you will continue to receive unlimited data (referred to as “Standard Data”); however, Viasat may prioritize Standard Data behind other customers during network congestion, which will result in slower speeds: Basic 12 (15 GB); Bronze 12 (35 GB, 40 GB or 80 GB); Silver 12 (45 GB); Gold 12 (65 GB); Bronze 25 (35 GB); Silver 25 (60 GB, 100 GB or 120 GB); Gold 30 (100 GB or 200 GB); Gold 50 (100 GB or 200 GB), Platinum 30 (150 GB ), Platinum 50 (150 GB) and Platinum 100 (150 GB or 300 GB). Streaming video quality is “up to,” will vary and is not guaranteed.