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How much data usage does Netflix and other streaming services use?

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How much data usage does Netflix and other streaming services use?



With the upcoming launch of Netflix in Australia it’s important you have all the important information before you start using the service. One of the most important points is how much of your data it consumes whilst in use.


Netflix offer 4 different tiers of quality streaming which directly affect your data consumption. The figures below are estimates only and may vary slightly from connection to connection.


  • Low – Approximately 300MB per hour
  • Standard Definition – Approximately 700MB per hour
  • High Definition – Approximately 3GB per hour
  • Ultra High Definition – Approximately 7GB per hour

Netflix also offer an auto quality feature which will choose the highest quality available to you based on your internet connection. Keep in mind that when using the auto setting your data consumption may fluctuate as your connection speed varies.


Note: From the 17th of April Netflix will be unmetered for Optus customers streaming the service over the fixed home broadband network. Unmetered content is content that you're able to view that will not count towards monthly data allowance.


Streaming content on your mobile device:


If you’re planning to stream content to your mobile device using the included data allowance on your plan (e.g not on Wi-Fi) it’s important you understand that it has the potential to use a large amount of data in a very short period of time.


If you’re on the Optus My Plan or Optus My Plan plus and you exceed your monthly data allowance, you’ll automatically be given an extra 1GB of data to use for an extra $10. This will continue up to 60GB in any given billing cycle. If you’re on any other plan ensure that you’re aware of the excess data charges to ensure you don’t receive a bill that’s more then you expect. This information can be found within the Critical Information Summary for your service.


General Steaming Services


Most streaming services offer a range of different quality settings which will affect the amount of data used. Generally the 3 options are low, standard definition (SD) and high definition. Please keep in mind that each streaming service is different and the below figures are estimates only when factoring in your data consumption.


  • Low – Low quality streaming can range anywhere from 300MB per hour to 600MB
  • SD – Standard Definition quality streaming can range anywhere from 700MB per hour to 1.2GB
  • HD – High Definition quality streaming is approximately the 3GB per hour
  • 4K(UHD) – 4K or Ultra High Definition is offered by some streaming service which can see you using up to 18GB per hour

When using a streaming service it is best to check your streaming service provider’s website for the most accurate information on data consumption. 

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