Tired of slow streaming?
Compare broadband deals with Money Expert and switch to a faster package now.

Last updated: 23/07/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Best broadband for streaming

Instead of scheduling your life around when your favourite series, movies, or sports games are going to air, you can invest in a broadband connection that allows you to watch what you want when you want. All you need is a fast and reliable internet connection. When searching for the best broadband provider, however, you may be overwhelmed by the choice. And while choice is always great, the varying prices, speeds, features, and incentives can make it harder to work out which plan is best suited to you. But we’re here to help! Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions that consumers ask before subscribing to broadband.

In This Guide:

What is streaming?

Gone are the days where you had to wait hours for a movie to download before watching it. Now you can stream content online so that you can have instant gratification by viewing videos or listening to audio content without having to download any of the information contained in the media files. Essentially streaming means you can watch content live, as it happens.

But what is streaming, exactly?

Streaming occurs when information (data) arrives at your computer in a continuous and steady stream of information. This means that you can watch or listen to multimedia online in real-time.

There are several different ways to stream online content. You can visit a website, such as YouTube, or you can use an app such as Netflix or Spotify to stream music, tv shows and sport.

To stream the content that you want to watch seamlessly with no buffering or interruptions, you’ll need a reliable internet connection with sufficient speed.

What is the best broadband for streaming?

When it comes to broadband deals, some providers focus on speed whilst others are highly reliable with 24/7 customer support. And some broadband suppliers are just really, really cheap.

The question is - which broadband supplier should you choose? In reality, the answer to this question comes down to each individual’s personal preference. For example, perhaps you don’t stream content that often and would prefer excellent customer care? Or maybe you are an avid gamer who needs a speedy and reliable line?

Depending on your requirements and your budget, you’ll need to choose between an ADSL or a fibre optic broadband connection.

Standard Broadband (ADSL) vs Fibre Optic Broadband

Both ADSL and fibre optic connections can be excellent choices when it comes to streaming. But in order to help you better understand your options, we’ll highlight the key differences between the two:

  • ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) uses copper lines to transfer data and connect you to the internet. It’s currently the most popular connection type because it’s more readily available than fibre optic broadband. ADSL deals can offer enough speed for adequate streaming, although it’s more prone to interruptions. ADSL connections are cheaper than most broadband packages but this may change in the future.
  • Fibre Optic Broadband – This type of connection uses light impulses to transfer data through thin glass fibre tubes. The light impulses are astronomically fast and as such, a fibre optic broadband connection will always offer a speedier service. The disadvantages of fibre optic connections, however, are that they are not yet readily available to all UK neighbourhoods and they are also costlier.

What is a good broadband speed for streaming?

If you are an occasional streamer, then you won't necessarily need an ultra-fast broadband connection to enjoy your music, TV shows or movies online. For example, speeds as low as 2.8Mbps will allow you to watch standard definition content if there is only one user at a time.

If you prefer to watch your shows in Ultra HD, then you may want to invest in a connection with a faster download speed. For example, applications such as Netflix recommend at least 5Mbps for HD and 25Mbps for Ultra HD viewing.

If you’re in a home or an office where there are multiple users who will stream content at the same time, then a faster connection will be to your advantage. This way, you will not have the frustration of dealing with a line that’s battling to keep up with the demand.

To summarise:

  • If you are an occasional streamer, a broadband speed between 10 and 25Mbps will suffice.
  • If you are a regular streamer or will be streaming at the same time as multiple users, a faster service between 25 and 100Mbps will be more adequate.

How much data does streaming use? 

Unless you have an uncapped broadband connection, you may want to consider the fact that streaming music, sports, and TV, particularly HD programmes, could very quickly use up your monthly data limit.

For instance, applications such as Showmax and Netflix uses around 1GB of data per hour when in use. This amount of data usage increases substantially, however, to 3GB if you are streaming in HD and 7GB for ultra-HD.

How do I compare broadband deals?

When searching for the best broadband deals, we recommend that you do a thorough broadband comparison between the providers in your area before you settle on a package.

You can use the Money Expert online comparison tool to compare broadband deals available to you. Simply fill in a quick form with your information and we will gather quotes from the best broadband service providers in your area. You can then compare broadband packages to ensure that you get the speed you want at a price you can afford.