A high speed internet connection is the most important component of streaming. Without internet, you can’t stream.
Internet speed is measured using Mbps (mega bytes per second). There are two numbers used to describe the internet speed, download speed and upload speed. General rule of thumb is that you will need 5 Mbps download for HD streaming and 25 Mbps download for 4K streaming.
However, you also have to take into account how many devices are on your home network. How many TVs will be streaming at the same time? How many smart phones, tablets, laptops, or smart home devices (thermostats, cameras, doorbells, etc) are on your network? All of these will slow your connection down.
Unfortunately, I am not (yet?) tech savvy enough to have a formula to figure this out for you. But I do have some advice, start with a slower speed than you think you might need. It will be easier to know if you need to go up in speed than if you can go down.
At my house we have 100 Mbps internet plan. It has worked well for us, we haven’t had noticeable lag or issues connecting. We have:
- One TV with streaming service
- (We have 2 more TVs that are rarely used)
- One tablet
- Two smart phones
- Two Echo dots
- Nest Thermostat
- One laptop
It isn’t often that all of these devices are using the network at the same time. If you have 1,000 laptops but only use one at a time, it won’t slow down your connection as much as having 3 laptops going at the same time.
If you have a house similarly equipped to mine, then I suggest you start with 75 Mbps.
Please be aware of data caps. My home internet does not have a data cap, but this is a practice that a lot of internet providers have adopted. Your data use will jump once you start streaming. Look into what fees you will incur if you go over your data or if you can upgrade to unlimited data. How much data you use per month will vary greatly depending on how much TV you watch and how many TVs are streaming at the same time.
Sling TV offers options for max bandwidth allowed:
- Best Quality – no limit
- High Quality – 2.8 Mb/s
- Medium Quality – 1.2 Mb/s
- Low Quality – 0.8 Mb/s
Start with 75 Mbps if you have moderate (or less) use of devices
Be aware of potential data caps
Let’s move on to Internet Providers