What's the best broadband speed for streaming 4K?

There's quite a lot to 4K UHD streaming.

Streaming in 4K UHD is the ultimate goal for your home cinema set up, but there are certain criteria you need to meet before you can even think about purchasing the television for it. 

In order to stream 4K UHD in the comfort of your own home, your broadband speed needs to be at least 25Mbps. Some streaming services say less, but 25Mbps is the standard benchmark for being able to watch your favourite movies and programmes in 4K UHD. 

However, if other people are streaming in your house and you just meet the 25Mbps benchmark, you’ll find yourself being bumped down to 1080p as your bandwidth won't be enough to go round. So if you're not getting the appropriate speeds, don’t even think about purchasing all the 4K gear, because you won’t be able to watch in the desired resolution. 

What streaming services allow you to stream in 4K UHD? 

If you’ve got the broadband speed and you want to enhance your at-home TV experience, getting all the appropriate kit for 4K UHD is your next step. But it’ll only be worth it if the streaming services you use are 4K UHD compatible. 

Netflix

Netflix does support 4K UHD viewing, but at a cost. There are currently three streaming plans with Netflix, Basic (SD), Standard (1080p HD) or Premium (4K UHD). 

If you’re thinking of upgrading to 4K viewing, you’re going to have to bump up your Netflix streaming plan to Premium, which will set you back £11.99 a month. With the Premium package, you’ll be able to watch on 4 screens at a time, and download content across 4 devices. 

Amazon Prime 

Amazon Prime’s 4K ability is free with the standard Amazon Prime subscription, you don’t need to buy a premium plan in order to obtain it. However, if you pay to rent on the Amazon Prime platform, you might have to pay more to watch in 4K UHD! 

NOW TV

Now TV’s standard package only allows viewers to watch in 720p. In order to watch in 1080p HD definition, customers must sign up to NOT TV’s Boost Pass, which will allow them to enjoy full HD across all their titles for an extra £3 a month. 

As for 4K UHD on NOW TV, there is none. They offer a Now TV Smart Box with 4K, but this does not mean you can watch NOW TV content in 4k UHD!

Disney Plus 

Disney Plus has three streaming options. ‘Save Data’, which streams as SD quality, using 0.7GB/hr, ‘Moderate’, which streams at HD quality and ‘Automatic’, which will stream up to the highest quality available, including 4K. So if you have a 4K compatible TV and the appropriate internet speed, you’re good to start viewing in UHD. 

Apple TV+

Apple TV supports 4K UHD, and will automatically play content in the best-quality format available for the device you are using, so if you have a 4K television, it’ll play on 4K resolution on default. 

What do I need to watch in 4K UHD? 

So you’ve got the right internet speed and all your favourite shows are on platforms that support 4K UHD, but the question is, what else do you need to begin watching in 4K? 

Buying yourself a 4K compatible television is where you need to start. Combined with your favourite streaming apps, you can start watching in UHD straight away. 

If you have Sky TV, you can watch it in 4K UHD if you have a Sky Q 2TB box or a Sky Q 1TB UHD box, along with HD and Ultra HD add-ons (or Sky Q experience subscription). 

For BT TV, you’ll need the 4K-ready box and BT’s dedicated 4K TV package called Entertainment Extra. 

Virgin TV supports 4K on their V6 box, when you upgrade to Bigger Bundle or Ultimate Oomph Bundle. 

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