What broadband speed do I need for Netflix?

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Love Netflix, hate buffering. It may sound like a first world problem, but there aren't many things more irritating than seeing that swirling red circle in the middle of the screen just as you're getting to a shocking climax - which is why you need to be sure you have the best broadband deal before you even start thinking about things like streaming devices and Netflix settings.

Get the right broadband plan and you can enjoy all the best Netflix shows and movies as they were intended to be experienced. Presuming you have the right device to support the best quality too, of course. 

From 4K resolution landscapes dazzling your eyes to rich HDR scenes pulling you into the action, and even Dolby Atmos sound encapsulating another sense – there is a lot to getting Netflix right.

So, why does Papa Netflix want you to be rocking all that speed?

Why do I need fast broadband for Netflix?

If you pop over to our broadband speed test and find that you are lacking on speed then you might not be getting the best Netflix stream. More on what lacking actually means, below. 

Yup, Netflix will cleverly downgrade the quality of the video and audio to suit your connection speed so you get the smoothest results - but not necessarily the best quality.

By quality we're talking about the top-end 4K and HDR video which means a fantastic amount of detail in that resolution and clarity in that High Dynamic Range offering. 

If you've already shelled for a fancy 4K and HDR TV but don't have the broadband to support it then you may have wasted your money as far as Netflix quality is concerned.

Another way to check speeds is within the Netflix app itself. For this, pop into the Settings, select Check your Network, then wait for the app to run the test. Simple.

How fast should my broadband be for Netflix?

Netflix says that if you want to enjoy all the 4K and HDR quality of its streaming media then you'll need a connection of 25Mb. So you'll need a good quality fibre broadband connection, it's that simple. 

If your speeds aren't that high then you'll be bumped down to a lower quality feed. Go for that TV with fancy Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support? They're going to waste if you're not hitting that speed requirement. The minimum requirements break down like this:

  • 25Mb   - 4K and HDR
  • 5Mb     - HD
  • 3Mb     - SD
  • 1.5Mb  - Recommended minimum
  • 0.5Mb  - Required minimum

What are my broadband options for Netflix?

If you're not hitting that 25Mb connection level then you may want to think about a change of broadband plan or even a switch of provider. There are lots of options out there for you to check out, from hard wired superfast BT broadband or Virgin Media broadband for maximum speeds where available.

Not too sure which is best and want to get the cheapest but fastest in your area? We've taken the work out of searching for you in our best broadband deals feature.

Read more:

Today's best broadband deals

Luke Edwards

Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.