How Much Data Does Netflix use?

Millions of Aussies chill out with Netflix every day. It’s a great way to watch the latest shows, movies and comedy specials. But be warned! If you’re on an Internet Plan with limited speed or data, Netflix can eat through it in record time.
Netflix data usage

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Edited by

Updated 11/10/2023
What changed?
Rewrite, added content comparing to other streaming sources, updated sources
Fact checked
Our aim is to help you make better informed decisions. That’s why iSelect’s content is produced in accordance with our fact-checking and editorial guidelines.

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Written by

Francis Taylor

Updated 11/10/2023

What changed?

Rewrite, added content comparing to other streaming sources, updated sources
Our aim is to help you make better informed decisions. That’s why iSelect’s content is produced in accordance with our fact-checking and editorial guidelines.

Edited by

Ellie Garran

Find out more about how we make money.

View our Privacy Policy.

Compare NBN plans the easy way

Save time and effort by comparing a range of NBN plans and providers online*

Before we dive into the details it’s worth asking ourselves a question. Does your internet plan’s speed and data matter when you want to watch Netflix?

The answer: When it comes to speed – yes, it matters. You know those annoying hiccups where the movie you’re watching stops and starts because your Internet can’t keep up? It definitely doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but it’s still a risk with slow connections. Lucky for you, your good pals at iSelect are here with some possible solutions!

And when it comes to data, these days almost all Internet Plans come with unlimited data, which means you can stream as much content as you want! If you’re on the rare plan with a data cap, or if you’re watching on a mobile, you’ll want to pay attention to how much you’re using – especially if you’re an avid binge watcher.

What’s the difference between speed and data?

Data is the term for digital information – that is, all the information your device receives to let you watch Rory and Lorelai in Gilmore Girls. When you stream TV shows, your device receives the data in a continuous stream as you watch. That’s why, if you lose your Internet connection, your stream will pack it in after a minute or two. When you download a show, your device receives all the data before you start watching.

Speed is the rate at which your device can receive that data. Internet Plans can use different speeds to download (receive information) and upload (send information). When it comes to watching your favourite shows, you want to know the download speed.

What’s the minimum download speed to watch Netflix?

When you choose a Netflix plan, you can choose between three different levels of video quality – HD, Full HD and Ultra HD. Each of these comes with a recommended minimum connection speed:1

Video quality Recommended minimum speed
High definition (HD) 3 Mbps
Full high definition (FHD) 5 Mbps
Ultra high definition (UHD) 15 Mbps

Basically, you’re striking a balance between video quality and speed. Slower connections can usually handle low- or medium-quality streaming just fine. But when it comes to watching higher definition videos? That’s when they might struggle.

How much data does Netflix use per hour?

This depends on the kind of video quality you’re after. If you’re watching on a web browser, Netflix gives you a few extra options, each with dramatically different levels of data usage:2

Video quality Data usage per hour 
Low Up to 0.3 GB
Medium Up to 0.7 GB
High (standard definition) Up to 1 GB
High (high definition)
Up to 3 GB
High (4K or ultra-high definition) Up to 7 GB

An auto video quality option is also available.3 This option automatically adjusts the quality to the highest possible level that your internet can handle without too much stopping and starting (which you might know as ‘buffering’).

How does Netflix work with NBN Internet?

The type of NBN plan you have may determine your Netflix experience. There are a few factors that have a particularly big impact:

  • Speed tiers: Most Internet Plans have speed tiers attached to them, which reflect how fast they can download files. For instance, NBN12 plans can reach a maximum download speed of about 12 Mbps, while NBN500 can reach up to 245 Mbps, or more as a typical evening speed.4 The former can handle standard-definition videos; the latter can stream 4K (or ultra-high definition) movies with ease.

  • The number of devices you have: Multiple devices using the Internet at the same time, on the same connection, also has a big impact on your Internet speed. When too many devices are downloading big files or streaming videos at the same time, you’ll usually see some slowdown. Again, this depends on the speed tier of your NBN plan. NBN12 can only usually handle about one to two devices, while anything past NBN100 can deal with up to nine different devices.5
  • Data limits: While almost all plans come with unlimited data, a few don’t. These plans have a certain amount of data you can use – typically a monthly limit. If you end up going past this limit, you might incur extra fees or have your internet speed reduced for the rest of the billing period.

How can I make the most of my speed and data limits?

Whether you watch Netflix on your laptop, television or phone, there are a few hacks to help you get a better quality video while working with lower speed or data limits. And don’t worry  – we won’t just tell you to turn down the video quality!

To save data:

  • Go ad free: This one’s probably not ideal for your wallet. Still, it’s worth noting that if you have a Netflix tier that comes with ads, you’ll be watching an extra four minutes of videos every hour.6 If you were thinking of upgrading to an ad-free tier anyway, this will shave a little bit off your data usage.
  • Use public Wi-Fi: This one’s good for people who watch Netflix on their phones, especially since Mobile Internet plans often do come with data limits. Just connect to a public Wi-Fi network when you’re out and about, download your movie or show of choice, and watch it at your leisure. No need to use up all that mobile data!

To get high-quality videos with low speed:

  • Watch offline: Netflix gives you the option to download movies and watch them offline.7 This is a good option if you have an unlimited data limit but a slow connection. If you don’t mind leaving your device on during the night, you can let it download videos while you sleep and wake up to a world of entertainment.

How do other streaming services compare?

Netflix is similar to other video streaming platforms when it comes to the amount of data it gobbles up and the minimum speeds it recommends. How similar, exactly? Let’s take a quick look at some of the alternatives below:

Video quality Data usage per hour8 Recommended minimum speed9
Save data (standard definition) Up to 0.7 GB Not listed
Moderate (high definition) Up to 2 GB 5 Mbps
Automatic (ultra-high definition 4K) Up to 7.7 GB 25 Mbps


Prime Video10
Video quality Recommended minimum speed
Standard definition 1 Mbps
High definition 5 Mbps


Video quality Data usage per hour Recommended minimum speed
Low (standard definition) 0.57 GB 3 Mbps
Medium (standard definition) 1.13 GB Not listed
High definition 720p 2.89 GB 4.5 Mbps
High definition 1080p
Not listed 7.5 Mbps
Ultra-high definition 4K 7 GB 15 Mbps


Foxtel Now12
Video quality Recommended minimum speed
Standard definition 3 Mbps
High definition 7 Mbps

The device you use to access some of these streaming platforms can also have an impact on how much data they use. For instance, Disney+ can stream 1080p HD videos over smart TVs and mobile devices using much less data than it would if you watch the same videos through your web browser.13

Where can I find and compare Internet Plans?

If you’re looking for a NBN Internet plan that can handle all your streaming needs, then iSelect has got you covered! We’ve partnered with CIMET to help you compare a range of Internet Plans and providers.* To start comparing, you can hop online or call our friendly team on 13 19 20.

1 Netflix Help Center – Internet connection speed recommendations
2 Netflix Help Center  How to control how much data Netflix uses
3 As above
4 Exetel – Understanding nbn™ speeds
5 As above
6 Netflix Help Center  Netflix Ad-supported Plans
7 Netflix Help Center – How to download titles to watch offline
8 Disney+ Help Centre – Data usage and streaming quality on Disney+
9 Disney + Help Centre – Internet speed recommendations
10 Prime Video Help  Issues with Live Streams on Prime Video
11 Stan  Stan and your Internet Connection
12 Foxtel Now  Internet Usage and Charges
13 Disney+ Help Centre  Data usage and streaming quality on Disney+