How much mobile data does streaming media use?

What Factors Affect Twitch Data Usage?

If you’re streaming on Twitch, the main factor that’s going to affect your data usage will be your bitrate. The higher resolution/bitrate you want to broadcast at, the more upload data you’re going to be consuming.

As a viewer on Twitch, changing the resolution of the stream you’re watching will be your best method for controlling how much data Twitch is using.

Beyond that, there are a few other important factors to consider that’ll affect your usage:

  • Background apps or programs.
  • The device you’re using (PC, Mobile, Twitch app, browser, etc.).
  • The resolution you’re streaming or watching at.
  • Your interaction with chat (the more OMEGALUL’s you spam in chat, the more data you’ll be using).

How much data does YouTube use?

Youtube is a video-streaming platform but many people use it to listen to music (and watch music video clips, of course). If you belong to this group, this is what you need to know: watching a YouTube video at the standard 480p will chew around 260MB per hour, while Full HD will “cost” you 1.65GB. Viewing videos in 4K uses 2.7GB per hour.

Video

Does the Streaming Platform Affect the Amount of Data Used?

It is crazy to think that two streaming sites performing the same tasks can use far more data.

However, they can, and they do. The differences between certain streaming sites data usage are quite shocking.

First, let us compare some of the major video streaming sites:

  • Netflix: SD – 1GB per hour; HD – 3GB perhour
  • Hulu: SD – 300MB per hour; HD – 650 MBper hour
  • Amazon Prime Video – SD – 850MB per hour;HD – 2GB per hour

The results are surprising.

To put into simpler terms, for one hour of watching Netflix in SD, you could watch 3.3 hours on Hulu and 1.2 hours on Amazon Video for the same amount of data.

While it may be hard to give up some of your favorite content, knowing the usage of each streaming service is handy in picking where to stream your videos from.

Next, let us compare the highest quality data streaming rates of some popular music streaming sites:

  • Spotify – 150MB
  • Apple Music – 115MB
  • Tidal – 144MB
  • Amazon Music – 115MB

Once again music streaming takes up far less data, but, if you are really trying to save your data for later video streaming or anything else, knowing the difference is beneficial.

Apple Music and Amazon Music seem to have the least amount of data usage, but the quality of the music is at 256kbps. Spotify uses more but has a better quality of 320kbps.

How Much Data Does Streaming On Twitch Use?

This chart shows the data consumed of a streamer broadcasting live on Twitch, streaming on a single PC setup for 4 hours.

ResolutionBitrate kb/sUpload Mb/minUpload Gb/hour
1080p3500261.56
720p2500191.14
480p120090.54
360p80060.36
240p50040.24
160p3002.50.15

As you can see the resolution you decide to stream at will vastly affect your upload data usage.

If you’re looking to lower your upload data when streaming on Twitch, try to find a balance of lowering your bitrate while still maintaining a video quality that you’re happy with broadcasting on your stream.

Bouncing between 30 or 60 FPS won’t make much of a difference for your data usage so no worries there, but it will tax your CPU if you’re not running a powerful rig.

How Much Data Do the Streaming Music Video and Live Streaming Use?

Watching videos on mobile is quite common now.

Watching videos on mobile is quite common now.

It a source of great entertainment, but you should know how much it affects your service plan.

This consumes much of it.

It uses more than any other service of this sort.

  • Similarly watching TV and movies also consume much of it.
  • Even watching a 5-minute video online consumes more than 5 Mb.
  • It also depends upon band-with, bit rate and the duration of which you watched it.
  • A video in which the scenes are changing rapidly after a short period will consume a little more of it.
  • Watching movies in HD could destroy data in GB’s.
  • If you want to consume less of it while watching videos online then you must adjust the quality settings of the video, low-quality videos will inevitably consume less.
  • According to the default settings, more than 500 MB are consumed in going live.
  • The content quality also matters in this regard.

What Radio App Uses the Least Data?

Many of the sorts help you to utilize the least of

Many of the sorts help you to utilize the least of it.

Some most common ones are listed below:

  • Tunein
  • Nextradio
  • Iheartmedia

You will be glad to know all of these are entirely free.

These apps make it incredibly easy for you to find radio stations. They have an excellent rating also.

Podcasts Apple

Apple’s Podcasts app was released in 2012. However, we encountered it before as part of the iTunes app. It was just a section on the app. Now it’s much more than that.

We can upload our podcasts if we’re a podcaster, and we can listen to several different audio shows on the Podcasts app. There are even guidelines for Apple Podcasts if you’re a podcaster.

Apple offers insights about your podcasts with its analytics.

How Much Data Does Pandora Use?

  • Pandora Free: Wi-Fi streams music at 128 Kpbs and will use approximately 60-70 MB per hour.
  • Pandora Free: Mobile data streams music at 64 Kpbs automatically and will use roughly 30 MB per hour.
  • Pandora Plus or Premium: Wi-Fi or mobile data uses 192 Kbps automatically and will use approximately 90 MB per hour.

Any paid Pandora account has a choice of low (32 Kpbs), standard (64 Kpbs), and high (192 Kpbs) quality streaming no matter how you’re listening. It defaults to high quality unless otherwise changed.  

How Much Data Does Apple Music Use?  

Unlike the other music streaming services, Apple Music streams at 256 Kbps no matter how you listen, meaning you’d use approximately 1 GB per hour.

Streaming vs. Downloading Podcasts Data Usage

When you stream a podcast, your device consumes data as it would with any other streaming service or app that uses data.

Imagine surfing Facebook. If you spend one hour looking at funny videos or browsing fake news on Facebook, you’ll spend nearly 120 MB (Megabytes). Seriously, this means 3.6 GB (Gigabytes) a month.

Take into account that Facebook is not the only thing you use on your phones. There are countless other apps that consume data. And when you stream something, you continually download the file and erase it at the same time.

When you want to go back and relisten to something you didn’t pay attention to, you go back, but you have to load that part again, and this will take data from you. But, with downloading, it’s quite different. You have the file stored locally.

However, there’s an amazing option you can use in the podcasting apps. The auto downloading feature. This feature makes the podcasts you subscribe to appear on your phones without spending a huge amount of data.

If you’re using Google Podcasts, open the app, tap on your profile in the upper right corner, and tap on Podcasts settings. Once there, you can see the Auto Downloading feature. Tap on that as well.

You can now toggle Auto Download New Episodes, and another option immediately appears to you. If you are only on Wi-Fi, make sure to toggle this as well to turn it on.

This means that your new episodes of podcasts that you like will download in the background when you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

It’s easy to do the same thing with Apple Podcasts. Just take your iPhone, go to Settings Podcasts > Download Episodes. Once you get there, you can only turn the option off or select Only New.

Although Only New is a decent solution, it can still consume a lot of data, especially if you’re subscribed to numerous podcasters. This is why there are many reports that podcasts use over 500 MB an hour.

Fortunately for you, this might not be the case at all. When you stream podcasts on your phones, the amount of data you use is approximately 1 MB a minute, which means that Podcasts consume about 60 MB an hour.

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We’re not telling you to buy more phones, forfeit your current deal or… you know what? Do what you want, this article will have four paragraphs if its the last thing we’ll write!

Thanks to recent cross-selling deals done by the smart guys at the top of the smartphone companies, you can get yourself a new cell phone plan with your music platform not using data. For example at Virgin Mobile and have your needs covered when using Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRADIO, Slacker Radio, Napster or 8Tracks completely data-free.

How Much Data Does Streaming Use? Video

We’ve seen how much bandwidth audio streaming uses. While the overall usage when streaming music can become data-heavy, video streaming is naturally even more bandwidth-intensive. 

It’s important to note that there are many video streaming platforms with varying types of content and, therefore, available video quality. For example, with Netflix being a dedicated service for watching video content (TV shows and movies), both the platform and its users strive for the highest possible video quality. 

On the other hand, platforms like YouTube hold a lot of audio-only content with placeholder videos or types of content where video quality is not as important as the sound.

The best approach to accurately answer the question “How much data does streaming videos use?” is to look at both the general bandwidth usage for video streaming and the video quality settings and data appetite of specific streaming platforms.

Here are the averages for video streaming data usage:

  • Ultra-low quality video in the 240p-340p area consumes, on average, 300 MB each hour.
  • The default video quality on YouTube, 480p, will spend 700 MB hourly.
  • HD quality videos of 720p use 0.9 GB per hour.
  • The second tier of HD videos – those of 1080p – will drain around 1.5 GB for every hour streamed.
  • 2K videos bring the hourly bandwidth usage to 3 GB.
  • Lastly, UHD or 4K streaming data usage records a whooping 7.2 GB each hour, so it’s probably best to select this video quality only when using uncapped plans.

As you can see,  video streaming can be extremely bandwidth-intensive. Capped data plans are pretty unsuitable for HQ streaming. Even with a 10 GB plan, streaming 4K  videos is not a very good idea, as you’ll eat through your monthly cap in an hour and a half.

Similar to music streaming services, video platforms are also very good at providing adaptive stream quality. The platforms will automatically adjust video quality based on the current strength of your connection, aiming to provide a ‘hiccupless’ experience to users.

Netflix Streaming Bandwidth Usage

Moving on to the question “How much data does Netflix streaming use?” you’ll see that the answer is fairly similar to the general video streaming data usage figures we provided above. The slight differences in data consumption tied to Netflix quality settings are shown below:

  • Standard-definition (SD) video streaming on Netflix uses 1 GB of data each hour.
  • High-definition streaming will consume 3 GB of bandwidth per hour.
  • In case you want to stream 4K videos, be prepared to spend 7 GB of data every hour.

For those wondering whether it pays off to just download a video from Netflix instead of streaming it, it does not – according to Netflix itself – as it will consume the same amount of data.

YouTube Streaming Bandwidth Usage

YouTube TV data usage is generally in the same ballpark as Netflix. However, as already mentioned, it features a lot of content you won’t necessarily want to stream in high quality.

As relevant YouTube statistics show, this is an incredibly popular platform. Hence, users should familiarize themselves with how much data they’ll spend using its services. YouTube’s data streaming ‘costs’ are:

  • 480p – 264 MB per hour
  • 720p – 870 MB per hour
  • 1080p – 1.65 GB per hour
  • 4K – 2.7 GB per hour

Note that these figures can change, as all platforms aim to keep up with both advancing technologies and progressively faster internet connections.

YouTube TV streaming quality settings also feature the ‘Auto’ option, which adjusts video quality to your current connection strength. 

How Much Data Does Twitch Streaming Use?

Our next topic is Twitch’s bandwidth usage. Twitch, as you probably know, is a streaming platform mainly targeted at gamers. However, similarly to Discord, it outgrew its initial niche, becoming a home for an immense variety of content. Besides short clips, Twitch content usually revolves around hours-long streams. Therefore, an internet data usage calculator for Twitch is more than useful, as avid fans of the platform will surely spend hours upon hours watching their favorite streamers. This, of course, translates into potentially heavy bandwidth usage, especially when streaming on mobile devices.

However, it’s important to make a distinction between streamers and those just watching streams when answering the question “How much data does streaming on Twitch use?” Streamers have to look out for both upload and download data usage as they are the ones publishing the content. Additionally, if they stream themselves playing an online video game, they’ll burn up even more bandwidth.

First, let’s go over the average data usage numbers for Twitch streamers:

  • 240p – 225 MB per hour
  • 360p – 270 MB to 360 MB per hour
  • 480p – 405 MB to 540 MB per hour
  • 720p – 800 MB to 1.1 GB per hour
  • 1080p – 1.3 GB to 1.57 GB per hour

Armed with this information, you can select an appropriate data plan for your Twitch escapades. Just equip yourself with a proper streaming webcam and a great gaming microphone, and you’re all set. 

How much data does streaming use when you’re just watching content on Twitch? Here are the numbers:

  • 240p to 320p – 300 MB per hour
  • 480p – 700 MB per hour
  • 720p – 900 MB per hour
  • 1080p – 1.5 GB per hour
  • 2K – 3 GB per hour
  • 4K – 7.2 GB per hour

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