How much data does video streaming use?

  • You can stream vids on your phone, smart TV, game console, PC, Mac, mobile, tablet and more.
  • Streaming online videos can very easily eat up your data.
  • Scroll down for a breakdown based on known statistics.

In the ever expanding age of the internet, online streaming has become the easiest and most common way for us modern folks to watch our film and television. But whether you're a casual watcher of a binge-viewer, that streaming is fuelled by your precious hard-earned data.

So unless you have unlimited plan, you may want to take a closer look at how much data your vids are taking up... 



The godfather of the streaming services, Netflix has made a household name for itself. According to their support page, watching Netflix content uses approximately 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video. However, if you find that your Netflix & Chilling is eating through your data too quickly, there is a handy option that lets you adjust your data settings. Netflix have four tiers...

LOW - 300MB per hour on the lowest video quality.

MEDIUM - 700MB per hour for SD video quality.

HIGH - 3GB per hour for HD video quality

AUTO - 7GB per hour for UHD (4K) video quality

To adjust these settings, simply...

1. Sign into Netflix.

2. Select the profile you'd like to change your data usage settings for. 

3. Select "Account" 

4. Under "My Profile", select "Playback Settings". 

5. Select your desired data usage setting. 

6. Click "Save".

The changes can take up to 8 hours to take effect, but after that, your self-imposed data limit will be activated! 


If Netflix is the godfather of streaming videos, then Youtube is the grandaddy. The official NBN Co page points out that while Youtube don't typically release official stats regarding their data streaming, there are still ways to estimate...

"As a general rule for typical Youtube videos, 480p playback of standard 30 frames per second (FPS) content uses approximately 264MB per hour, 720p (HD) videos use roughly 870MB per hour, and 1080p (Full HD) video playback uses around 1.65GB an hour." 

Not unlike Netflix, you can also adjust your Youtube vids to a less demanding setting...

"Youtube has an array of playback-quality settings that can greatly vary data usage, generally ranging from as low as 144p playback (half of standard definition, or ‘SD’, quality) to 2160p (4K) video settings. There are other variables that come into play, such as the bitrate, frame rate, as well as 3D and 360-degree videos, all of which affect data usage and, sometimes, bandwidth requirement per video."


Stan's support page offers a breakdown of their different options for video quality that are pretty dang close to Netflix's, but with enough difference to take it into account if you really need to tighten the belt. 

ULTRA (UHD) - 7 GB per hour.

HIGH (HD) -  2.89 GB per hour. 

MEDIUM (SD) - 1.13 GB per hour. 

LOW (SD) - 0.57 per hour. 

To select the Stan setting of your choosing, simply... 

1. Click/select the "Settings" cog while watching a video (this may be located in different areas of your screen depending on the device you're using). 

2. Select your preferred quality setting.

And that's it! Remember, if you ever need a quick check, you can see what setting your Stan is currently set by the label on the "Settings" cog.


 ABC iView keep it simple. They don't currently have a HD option (largely due to rights restrictions regarding the cost of delivering video in that quality), but according to their support page, they hope to suppy it in the future if workflows and delivery infrastructures all go to plan.

In the meantime, the average breakdown for their data usage is as follows... 

- A 60 minute program will consume up to around 700MB of data.

- A 30 minute program will consume up to around 350MB of data.

- A 10 minute program will consume up to around 120MB of data.

- A 5 minute program will consume up to around 60MB of data.


SBS On Demand steams most of their content at "Low", "Medium", "High", and "Very High" bitrates. For Live Streams, they may also use an even higher bitrate of 2.5MB/sec.

They breakdown their tiers thusly...

- Low (128kb/sec): up to 100 MB

- Medium (512kb/sec): up to 250 MB

- High (1MB/sec): up to 500 MB

- Very High (1.5MB/sec): up to 700 MB

- Max (2.5MB/sec): up to 1,200 MB (live streams only)

Happy viewing! And if you're in need of a good internet service to help supply the sweet broadbands you need to sate your streaming desires, why not click through and help us find the best plan and provider for your specific location?