At first the internet was for text based content primarily. Next, we used the internet to browse photos, gifs and dank memes. Today it’s streaming video that’s gobbling up our data plans en masse. If you live in a large, urban area, particularly a technology obsessed metropolis like Seattle or San Francisco, you’re going to have a ton of options for internet providers with speeds able to stream video. Below is a guide to choosing the best internet for streaming video.
Find the Fastest Streaming Internet in Your Area
The biggest hurdle to getting the fastest internet for streaming video is likely being constricted to just one or two choices, especially if you like in a more rural area. There are three main types of providers: DSL (phone copper), Cable (copper) and Fiber (fiber optics). DSL is generally the slowest, cable is faster but fiber is 10X that usually! If you can get fiber, it is almost always the fastest option for you so check that out in your city.
Verizon FIOS is one of the best internet service providers when it comes to streaming video. That’s because it’s a 100% fiber optic network meaning your signal won’t be slowed down by slower networks along the way. They promise huge speeds for a competitive price, that is, if they’re in your area. Find out here and if you’re lucky enough to have them in your area you’ll be set:
Comcast/Xfinity has the best coverage so chances are you’ll always be able to sign up for Comcast and you’re in luck because in most areas they have more than enough bandwidth to get you streaming that HD video. One problem people have with Comcast, though is the pricing. Lots of fees and whatnot so be careful of that.
AT&T have a great plan starting at only $40 per month that will give you 50Mbps, WAY more than enough to stream any video online for an extended period of time. Check out their availability and latest deals here:
What Internet Speed do I Need to Stream High Quality Online Video?
You’ll see advertisements all over the place promising “1.5MB/s Internet!” or “Gigabit Speeds!” You’re probably wonder what all this means and how much you really need. Here’s the scoop:
Standard Video (Not HD, 480P): 0.5-1.5Mbps
High Definition Video (HD, 720P): 2-3.5Mbps+
4K Video (UHD): 20Mbps+
If you don’t stream a lot of video online then you can probably get away with a 1Mbps plan though buffering may occur! Most people, though wan quality video and are in the second group of HD streamers needing at least 3Mbps to watch comfortably.
Best for Internet Streaming Netflix, Hulu & Amazon
If you’re using Netflix or another service on a huge screen you’re going to want it to be in HD otherwise it will feel like you’re watching The Wire on VHS in your basement circa 2002. Knowing this, the best internet for streaming Netflix is one that gives you fiber directly to your home but cable options like AT&T and Comcast are also viable for sure. It’s all about making sure your speeds are up around 2Mbps at least to make sure most quality video streams lightning fast. Check out some plans in your area and make sure they hit that speed.
Keeping Up with the Latest Streaming Technology
First things first we should check to see how fast your current internet speeds are so that you have a frame of reference to work from. Try speedtest.net for a quick check. Note that speed number that will look something like “16mbps/s” or “0.2mbps”.
You should also be sure that the slowdowns you’re likely experiencing aren’t due to an old or malfunctioning wifi router. It’s a good idea to replace your wifi every 2-3 years as technology changes in that time will likely leave you in the dust. New phones and laptops use entirely new bandwidths of wifi that aren’t supported by your 10 year old router. Pick out a new one for $100 if you’re in this situation. This may improve your streaming video speeds without having to change providers.