How Much Data Does Streaming Video Use?


Back in the day, we had a couple of platforms to stream our favorite shows and movies. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video were the only streaming services. They had a massive audience and everything was working just fine. Then the streaming wars started. New streaming services started to appear in the digital landscape and people had more choices than ever before. These new streaming services started to acquire entire rows of popular TV shows.

How Much Data Does Streaming Video Use?

Now, we are all stuck. There are dozens of streaming services in the market and it is difficult to choose from among them. Eventually, we end up missing a lot of raging content.

Secondly, the cord-cutting wars are on the rise too. Many people are tired of the ever-increasing monthly charges of cable TV. Therefore, they look for a cheaper option that gets the job done. Streaming services take the limelight here, as they are much cheaper and convenient when compared to cable TV.

However, streaming requires high-speed internet and ample monthly data. Fortunately, Cox internet offers an ultra-fast broadband network and sufficient monthly data for streaming. If you are on a fixed data plan, we have created a comprehensive guide on all the popular streaming services and the amounts of data they require. Let us begin:

Video Streaming Data Requirements

Video streaming is a high-bandwidth task and uses a lot of internet data as opposed to browsing, or audio streaming. While streaming your favorite TV show, you are transmitting and receiving more information online. Your internet connection plays a big part here. Thankfully, all streaming services can judge the available network strength and adjust the video quality based on the current speed. All popular streaming services have this feature. Let’s break down the data consumption while streaming:

Low-Quality Streaming: If you are streaming on a low quality i.e 240p or 320p, you will consume approximately 300 MB in an hour. No one likes to stream in low quality. However, it saves you a lot of data.

Standard-Quality Streaming: If you are streaming in a standard 480p quality, you will consume 700 MB data in an hour that amounts to 0.7 GB.

High-Definition Streaming: All of us like to stream our favorite movies and TV shows in a high-definition. HD streaming is between 720p to 2K. If you are streaming in HD, you will consume 0.9 GB in an hour for 720p, 1.5 GB for 1080p, and around 3 GB for 2K video.

Ultra-HD Streaming: This is the finest video quality standard yet. With UHD, you get to watch videos in 4K and higher. However, this kind of streaming leaves a great dent on your monthly data. It takes more than 7 GB data per hour to stream in 4K.

Coming to Streaming Services

Different applications and streaming video services have different data consumption rates. The following are the most prevalent ones:


You consume somewhere around 600 MB of data per hour while streaming a video in SD on YouTube. Jumping to a higher resolution will take more data. If you are streaming a video with 60 FPS,  you consume more than 1.8 GB of data per hour for 720p video quality. This number goes beyond 3GB and 15 GB for 1080p and 4K in an hour respectively.


It is safe to say that Netflix is the most popular streaming service in the world. With more than 130 million subscribers, it reaches far beyond borders. You can adjust the video quality according to your liking. According to Netflix, you consume 1 GB data in an hour while streaming a movie or show in standard definition. However, this number will rise to 3 GB per hour if you are streaming in HD. For ultra-HD, you will have to pay more and it will consume 7 GB of your precious data in an hour.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime is another popular video streaming platform with a massive customer base. It is Netflix’s archrival and offers three resolutions namely: Good, Better, and Best. Good quality streams all videos at standard definition (480p) consuming 800MB in an hour. Better quality streaming will require 2 GB data in an hour for HD. The best quality delivers 4K resolution and consumes more than 6GB of data per hour.


Hulu has some unmissable TV shows and the data usage is slightly lower than all the platforms around. If you are streaming in standard definition, you will consume 680 MB in an hour. The HD streaming in 720p will consume 1.3 GB in an hour and around 2.7 GB for 1080p.

Final Verdict

The data consumption rates per hour vary from platform to platform. Streaming in standard definition will save you a lot of data if you are on a limited data plan. It is better to get a connection that has unlimited data to avoid any related contingencies.

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Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.