Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Netflix Streaming Size

Netflix allows you to choose from hundreds of movies and TV shows for entertainment.

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With Netflix's "Watch Instantly" feature, you can stream videos to your computer or to any of many Netflix-compatible devices, like gaming consoles and even some TVs. The amount of data you stream depends on the capabilities of your Internet connection, but you have options to restrict it if you prefer. Although dealing with specifics about streaming rates and bandwidth usage can sometimes be confusing, estimating and configuring your data usage isn't too difficult.

Related Searches: Streaming Rate

Your "streaming rate" is how quickly you're accessing data on the Internet, and it's measured by speed, usually in increments of kilobits per second ("Kbps") and megabits per second ("Mbps"). There are 1000 kilobits in a megabit. In order to view any content on Netflix, you need to have an Internet connection of at least 500 Kbps. If your Internet connection speed is at or near 500 Kbps, the Netflix video quality will be low but watchable. If your Internet connection speed is higher, perhaps near four or five Mbps, the Netflix video quality will be superior, even reaching high-definition qualities when available. Any DSL or cable provider should be able to offer a connection of at least 500 Kbps.

Bandwidth Usage

Total bandwidth usage is the amount of data you use over time, so it's a flat number instead of measurement of speed. For instance, if your data transfer rate is 500 Kbps, then in a single second you will access a total 500 kilobits, which translates to a little over 60 kilobytes of data. Comparing streaming rates to bandwidth usage can be confusing, but the point is that if you watch low-quality Netflix videos, then every hour you'll use a total of about one-third of a gigabyte (GB), which is about 340 megabytes (MB). If you watch high-definition Netflix videos, then every hour you can use as much as 2.3GB.

Controlling Usage

If you want to restrict your data usage, you can adjust the settings at Netflix's website. This restricts both the streaming rate and the bandwidth usage. After logging in, click the "Your Account & Help" link in the top-right corner of the page; then click "Manage Video Quality" under section titled "Watching instantly on your TV or computer." Here you can select the quality you prefer: good quality, which uses about 0.3GB per hour; better quality, which uses about 0.7GB per hour; or best quality, which uses about 1GB per hour for standard-definition videos and as much as 2.3GB per hour for high-definition videos.

Estimating Usage

If your Internet service provider lets you view data usage at its website, then you should use their information, since it will be more accurate than an estimate. If you want to calculate Netflix data usage after you've selected a preferred video quality, log into Netflix on a computer and click the "Your Account & Help" link in the top-right corner of the page. Then click "See all instant watching activity" for a list of all recently viewed content. Add up the hours of viewing time and multiply that by the maximum data rate for the video quality you selected. For instance, if you watched 5 hours at 0.3GB per hour ("good quality"), then you've used approximately 1.5GB of data.

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