Netflix and Other Streaming Sites Data Usage Calculator

This post may contain affiliate links

Movie streaming can quickly use up a lot of data and many Internet Providers have a cap on how much you can use every month. With that in mind, you may wonder just how much data does Netflix use? This calculator can help you estimate how much data you will use based on how much time you expect to spend watching movies or TV shows on an average day.

Movie Streaming Data Usage Calculator

Netflix Data Usage

Netflix bandwidth usage will vary based on quality and according to their site, will be under 1GB for SD, 3 GB for HD, and 7GB for Ultra HD per device per hour. The usage is the same whether you stream or download the content for later playback.

That means that 100GB is enough for 100 hours of SD content, about 33 hours of HD content, or approximately 14 hours of 4K Ultra HD content. It would take about 145GB of data to watch the entire 3 seasons of Stranger Things in 4K Ultra HD quality.

You can signup for Netflix here:

How Much Data Does Hulu Use?

Unlike Netflix, Hulu doesn’t provide any data usage statistics but by all accounts, it appears that their data usage is more economical than that of Netflix so you should be able to use Netflix numbers as a reference.

How Much Data Does Streaming Use?

In general terms, data usage is related to the content quality and bitrate as well as the type of compression used. The topic can get very complicated quickly so we won’t go into all the extra details here.

Bitrate is typically specified using kbps, which translates to Kilobits per second. That is the amount of data sent over the wire any given second the content plays. 1 kbps = 125 bytes (since 8 bits = 1 byte).

We can use the Bitrate to calculate approximate data usage as follows. Note that the bitrate can vary and the numbers used here are at the higher end.

HD 720p Video at 4,000kbps (4Mbps)

4,000kbps => 4Mbps => 0.4768 MB/second * 3600 = 1.676 GB/hour

HD 1080p Video at 8,000kbps (8Mbps)

8,000kbps => 8Mbps => 0.9537 MB/second * 3600 = 3.353 GB/hour

4K Ultra HD at 14,000kbps (14Mbps)

14,000kbps => 14Mbps => 1.6689 MB/second * 3600 = 5.867 GB/hour

While these are rough estimates not taking different compression methods into account you can already see that the numbers are not too far off from the numbers posted by Netflix.

How Much Data Does Pandora Use?

We can calculate data usage for music and other audio services using the same approach. Using the quality details provided by Pandora you can see that Pandora should use the following:

Low quality: 32kbps should use about 13.73 MB/hour
Standard quality: 64kbps should use about 27.46 MB/hour
High quality: 192kbps should use about 82.40 MB/hour

Guide to Cutting The Cord

You could be watching all your favorite shows and saving money on channels you don’t use. Read our simple guide for cutting the cord here