Netflix users are using so much data that they have problems with Internet service providers. Verizon even openly admits to throttling Netflix and YouTube. You probably already know that Netflix uses a lot of data, but how much do they actually consume? We have a few numbers for you!
How much data does Netflix use?
The table below shows our data.
|Resolution||Netflix estimates|| Our measurements
|Low (480p)||300 MB per hour||200-350 MB per hour|
|Medium (720p )||700 MB per hour||650 MB – 750 MB per hour|
|High (1080p)||3GB per hour||2.8 GB-3.3 GB per hour|
|1440p  NA||4.2 GB per hour|
|4K (with and without HDR)||7 GB per hour||6.5 GB-11.5 GB per hour|
Strangely, Netflix has none Data estimates for its 4K content with HDR, although 4K streaming consumes about 7 GB per hour. However, Netflix recommends a 25 Mbps connection for 4K HDR content. This is no different than the recommendations of Netflix for normal UHDs. Therefore, we do not believe that HDR requires so much extra data compared to non-HDR content when you reach the 4K limit.
How we measured the data
We looked at three sources of data here. Netflix has its own site with its own data usage estimates. We also conducted our own tests on free versions of Glasswire on a 1080p Windows laptop and a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. That provided just about all the data we needed about 1440p, the native resolution of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. We used Netflix account settings and some other tricks to get our data.
HDR content and 4K content was a bit more complicated. I used an Xbox One X for that. You can turn HDR on and off in the console's video settings, and Xbox One X's network settings are a useful tool for bandwidth usage. We measured how much data the Xbox used alone, and then subtracted it from our usage data after watching a few episodes of Marco Polo in 4K with HDR.
Our estimates were very close to Netflix's data estimates.
All Our measurements are approximate. Netflix has both 24-fps and 60-fps content as well as various bitrates. Frame rate and bitrate changes can significantly affect data usage. It's also a bit harder to control the resolution compared to YouTube.
Saving Data to Netflix
There are several ways to curb your data using Netflix data from your computer, your phone and in some cases your TV. All options are simple.
In your browser:
- Log into your Netflix account in any web browser.
- Navigate to the account page and then to your playback settings.
- You can choose between Auto, Low, Medium or High Quality. You can also enable or disable the setting to automatically play the next episode.
- It may take some time for your account to appear.
On your mobile:
- Open your Netflix app and navigate to the More Options tab under the floor Select the App Settings option.
- Tap the video playback setting. You have four options, including Automatic (default), Wi-Fi Only, Save Data, and Maximum Data.
- The Automatic setting balances good video quality with data usage and uses about 1 GB of data per four hours of streaming. Wi-Fi only prevents Netflix from using your data plan, and Save Data limits data usage to about 1GB per six hours of use. The Maximum Data option uses as much data as Netflix allows.
On Your TV:
This is a bit difficult but doable. Roku, Android TV, Apple TV and Fire TV all have settings that limit the resolution to 1080p and exclude the additional data usage of 4K and HDR. Smart TVs usually have a stand-alone Netflix app. The one that came on my LG B7, had no resolution settings, but possibly on other TVs. “/>