As cordcutters, we rely heavily on internet data to access online video content. Though, how much do we really use is a really important question to ask ourselves.
You don’t want to blow past your data limit (cap) and end up paying extra, which would totally defeat the point of getting rid of cable.
Extra fees just suck and they can rack up quickly….
Reading this guide will answer some important questions such as how much data you stream per month, will you blow past your data cap, do you need another ISP, etc.
We’ll break it all down below! 🙂
Table of Contents
Determine Current Internet Usage: Past Bills
The best way to determine how much data you are using now is to just look at your current and past bills.
Most ISPs provide a thorough statement on the data you’ve used with graphs, detailed number lines, and more.
If you don’t receive paper statements then you can easily access them online through your provider’s website. Worst case scenario, you just need to call your provider and ask for those details.
As you can tell from the image, my current provider is Cox. This is how I would look up my data usage. Gives a good breakdown of the previous and current month of data I’ve used.
Of course, this is going to look different with each provider. If you happen to have Cox, then its usually under
- Customer’s Home page -> Customers -> My Tools > Data Usage
Data Usage on Streaming Services
Most cordcutters have about two streaming services that they pay for each month. Some popular options are SlingTV, Netflix, Hulu, and FuboTV.
- Check our guide on 30+ Streaming Services to Choose from!
How Much Data Does Netflix Use?
Netflix has (3) three quality streaming settings which are low, medium and high. We’ll have a break down below on each setting.
This applies to all available streaming platforms like your web browser, streaming media player, smart tv or gaming console.
- Low: 300MB (0.300GB) per hour
- Medium: 700MB (0.700GB) per hour
- High: 3GB per hour for HD, 7GB per hour for 4K
Usually, the quality setting is normally set to “auto”. If so, then you are most likely streaming medium to high-quality base on your connection and streaming speed.
Just be extremely careful since Netflix has complete seasons on-demand. You could possibly, most likely, binge watch a whole season of a show and burn through 20-40 GB.
Just like that 😛
How Much Data Does Hulu Use?
Hulu is another popular option amongst streamers like you and me. It’s got tons of great movies, shows and a large variety to choose from different major networks.
Surprisingly, Hulu uses less data than its other popular competitors like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Therefore, making this the most cost-effective option.
Let’s list some data numbers
- Standard Definition: 680MB (0.680GB) per hour
- High Definition: 1.3GB per hour
- 1080p+: Up to 2.7GB per hour
- Live TV Channels: 1.3GB per hour (Hulu Live TV streams at 720p HD)
Not too bad in terms of streaming data per hour. Hulu now has Live TV available at $39.99/month. It’s a great add-on if you’re already using on-demand Hulu.
How Much Data Does YouTube Use?
YouTube is a massive powerhouse for streaming free content. Unless you’re on YouTube Red or YouTube TV, which are their paid services.
No matter where you’re at, you’re most likely going to watch at least 1 YouTube video daily. The amount of data that you stream varies greatly depending on your connection speed and connection itself to YouTube.
Most of the videos you’ll be watching usually less than 5 minutes with some pushing between 5-10 minutes.
It will normally adjust your streaming quality accordingly.
Here is a breakdown of data per hour and per minute for each quality setting.
- 240p: 100MB per hour = 0.100GB, 1.6MB per minute
- 360p: 160MB per hour = 0.160GB, 2.66MB per minute
- 480p: 240MB per hour = 0.240GB, 4MB per minute
- 720p: 450MB per hour = 0.450GB, 7.4MB per minute
- 1080p: 750MB per hour = 0.750GB, 12.4 MB per minute
- 1440p+: You’re going to be hitting more than 1GB per hour and more
How Much Data Does SlingTV Use?
SlingTV is one of our highest recommend service for live TV. It offers a good amount of channels for a low price of $25.00 per month.
You can selectively add on specific packages such as Kids, Latino, international and more for relatively cheap.
There isn’t any public data released by SlingTV on the data usage, but we do have some data from testing it ourselves. We’ll get you some rough estimates below.
SlingTV users are able to adjust streaming quality with an option called “Connection” under settings. You can access it by accessing your setting menu or a gear icon.
- Best Quality: 3-4GB per hour
- High Quality: 2-3GB per hour
- Medium Quality: 1-2GB per hour
- Low Quality: 500-700MB per hour
Most users stream around high to the best quality, which could place you between 2-4GB per hour. With the ability to adjust the streaming quality, you could lower it when using a smaller platform like a mobile or tablet.
The quality is almost indistinguishable on smaller screens but will make a big difference if you’re watching on a large TV set.
How Much Data Does Playstation Vue Use?
Playstation is another top contender for streaming services. Great if you’re using their gaming console.
Under Playstation’s website, they state that they don’t recommend internet plans with limited data caps.
However, they have introduced a new feature where you can limit your data usage base on quality. So limited plans shouldn’t be an issue if you watch it accordingly.
We’ll list them below here, usage per hour based on quality.
- Low Quality: About 500MB per hour
- Medium Quality: About 1GB per hour
- High Quality: About 2GB per hour
How Much Data Does Amazon Prime Use?
Amazon Prime data usage is slightly harder to pinpoint. The amount of data usage would entirely depend on which platform is being used.
Of course, using mobile and tablet would have less data usage versus a desktop or large TV set.
Amazon does not publicly display any data figures, so these numbers will be rough estimates. You can also compare them to the standards as well.
- Standard: About 800MB per hour
- HD: About 2GB per hour
- UHD: About 4-6 GB per hour
Like SlingTV and Netflix, you’re able to adjust the quality of stream via the setting menu. The options available on Amazon Prime Video are good, better, or best.
The Amazon Video app will show you which resolution you are streaming at any given moment. Be sure to check and track that accordingly.