If Netflix addiction is real, and binge-worthy TV isn’t going anywhere, then it behooves you to know just what kind of investment you make when you churn through data during a night in with Narcos.

Granted, watching Netflix on your phone or tablet means you’ll have different quality settings to pick from, thus the option to use less data (clicking “Auto” or “Save Data” is recommended), and Optus offers data-free Netflix on select postpaid plans. But when watching on your TV, just how much data are you using? And if the average subscriber watches about 47 hours of Netflix per month, what’s the best broadband data cap plan?

Netflix has actually published some data usage numbers on its site – albeit buried on its Account Preferences page. Netflix offers estimates for ‘Low’ streaming video quality (240p), Medium’ (480p), and ‘High’ (720p, 1080p, and 4K). But with a range so broad for ‘High’, it’s all about as clear as mud.

netflix data settings from account settings on site
Source: Netflix

Remember, Netflix can be watched with internet speeds as slow as 0.5Mbps per second, but the platform recommends 3Mbps for SD quality and 5Mbps for HD.

US tech publication How To Geek tested Netflix’s data use across different video qualities. It monitored the bitrate closely as the resolutions changed, then converted Kilobits per second to Gigabytes per hour.

Here’s what How To Geek found:

netflix-data-howtogeek research
Source: How To Geek

Essentially, Netflix is not using more data than it claims to be. While some suggested numbers from different tech publications aren’t an exact match, they’re extremely close.

So, what’s the best broadband data cap for Netflix?

Australian consumer comparison website WhistleOut has crunched the data (sorry) on the best broadband data cap for each streaming quality; see below:

whistle-out-netflix broadband plans
Source: WhistleOut

For ‘Low’ stream quality, WhistleOut recommends 100GB plans from services like Belong, Amaysim and Dodo. For ‘Standard Definition’, it recommends 200GB plans from Belong, iPrimus and barefoot.

For ‘High Def’, it recommends 500GB plans from Belong, AusBBS and mate. And for ‘Ultra HD’, WhistleOut recommends unlimited plans from services like iiNet, TPG and Tangerine.

Happy streaming!

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