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What internet speed do I need for Netflix?

Struggling to stream? This might be your problem.

Fergus Halliday
Aug 18, 2023
Icon Time To Read4 min read

Run up against Netflix’s infamous “Whoops something went wrong” error screen again? It might be time to check in with your internet connection and double-check whether it is fast enough to get the job done. 

To find out more about what internet speed Netflix needs, why your Netflix might be running slowly (or more slower than it should be) and how to make your internet connection go a little faster, read on. 

Why is Netflix struggling to keep up with my internet connection?

If you’re encountering Netflix’s Error Code NW-1-19 more than you’d like, there are a few easy culprits.

The first is that your internet speed might just be too slow. If that doesn’t sound right, then you might want to check how many devices are connected to your local network. If your bandwidth is being pulled in too many different directions at once, that’s something that can have an adverse impact on your Netflix streaming experience. 

Still a bit confused? The video below might help you understand things a little better. It explains how your internet is divided between different connections and how upgrading your connection can often be the first and easiest thing you can do if you’re looking for a smoother and more consistent Netflix experience.

Play Video

If you’ve come out the other side of that explainer and are still pretty convinced that your internet speed should be fast enough for Netflix, there might be a one-off issue with the broadband network itself.

To help determine whether that is indeed the case, be sure to run a speed test using the tool below. If there’s a wide variance between the results you get there and the typical evening speeds of your given provider, then you might want to get in touch with them. These kinds of issues aren’t the only reason for a slow NBN connection, but they are common ones. 

Internet Speed Test

Does your internet provider have the need for speed? Test internet speeds at your location with a single click.

What internet speed does Netflix need?

The speed requirements for streaming Netflix will differ based on what you’re looking to stream and what you’re looking to stream it on. You can stream TV shows and movies via Netflix on internet speeds as slow as 0.5Mbps per second, but you’ll want closer to 3Mbps per second for SD and 5Mbps for HD quality content. If you fancy 4K? You’ll want five times that at around 25Mbps.

Sometimes the issue might be with your device rather than your internet connection.

To determine whether this is the case, make sure to try and stream Netflix and recreate your issue across different devices, including TV, desktop PC, tablet mobile or gaming console.

If you’re running into the same error across the board, the bad news is that your internet connection is probably the culprit. The good news is that fixing it is fairly straightforward.

While the requirements we mentioned before are significantly below the maximum theoretical speeds that an NBN50 connection can allow for, this speed tier remains the one we’d recommend for most households looking to stream Netflix. It’s better to have more bandwidth than you need than not enough. That way, both you and your household can stream in peace and without interruption. 

The other thing to make sure you have is an internet connection with unlimited data. Most NBN providers include this as standard, but it’s well worth double-checking if you’re uncertain. Streaming isn’t the most data-intensive activity you can do online, but it can add up quickly. 

To recap, these are the basic Netflix data usage requirements if you're watching Netflix on your TV:

Stream Quality
Data Per Hour
Data Per Month
Low300MB18GB
Standard Definition1GB60GB
High Definition3GB180GB
Ultra HD (4K)7GB420GB

For a better sense of how that maps to mobile streaming situations, check out this breakdown of data usage requirements you want to achieve to smoothly stream Netflix:

Stream Quality
Data Per Hour
Data Per Month
Auto250MB3.8GB
Save Data170MB2.6GB
Maximum Data3GB45GB

If you’re worried about using up your data allowance, it might be worth adjusting a few quality settings within Netflix to alleviate any potential issues. This can be done regardless of where you’re looking to stream.

Netflix quality settings

When you’re streaming on your TV, mobile or PC, Netflix will automatically stream at the highest level of quality that it can without the need for buffering.

As opposed to the early video streaming days of the internet, the platform relies on a dynamic system. If your speeds go up, your quality will too. The opposite also applies. If you notice that your stream is fluctuating or bouncing between different levels of quality over the course of a movie or episode of TV, there’s a good chance that your connection speed is too.

While this system does have its advantages, it does also make it trickier to measure and estimate how much data you’re going through. That said, those on an NBN connection should be looking at a fairly consistent HD stream. The same might not be true for those on a 5G or 4G home internet connection. 

Fortunately, Netflix does give you an alternative. If you dig into your account settings, you can set the maximum fixed streaming quality. This won’t stop your connection from slowing down, but it should ensure that you don’t go too far beyond what you’re expecting when it comes to how much data you’re using. 

The process of doing this varies depending on the device you’re using to watch Netflix.

On your computer
  • Click on your profile icon in the top-right of the Netflix window and choose My Account. 
  • Under My Profile click on Playback Settings. 
  • Select the quality of stream you want.
On your phone
  • When in the Netflix app, select the Menu icon in either the top left or top right corner (this depends on whether you're using iOS or Android).
  • Select App Settings.
  • Select Cellular Data Usage. 
  • Select the quality of stream you want.

Unlimited Internet Plans

Can’t get enough of Netflix? Before you bring on your next binge of TV and movies, be sure to invest in an internet connection that ensures you’ll be able to keep Netflix operating as it should For that, we recommend an unlimited internet plan with at least NBN 50 speeds. That should cover all your internet basics while providing plenty of bandwidth for streaming Netflix. 

That said, if you’re looking to stream in 4K or expect multiple streaming sessions to be happening each evening within your household then it might be worth considering a faster NBN speed tier like NBN 100, NBN 250 and NBN 1000.

Check out the widget below for a roundup of the fastest NBN 50 plans and providers:

And here are the leading providers across NBN 100 plans for that little bit extra:

Cheapest NBN plans for Netflix

If you’re a little strapped for cash but keen to keep up with Netflix streaming originals like Squid Game and Wednesday, there are plenty of options that’ll let you binge on a budget. Check out the widget below for a list of the best NBN providers, sorted by price. All plans have at least 500GB of data.

Cheapest 5G home internet plans for Netflix

Looking to lean away from the NBN? A 5G home internet connection might be your next best bet. Check out some of the cheapest 5G plans available for Netflix.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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