Back to top
Back to all guidesBack to all guides

Best Broadband for 4K Streaming

A guide explaining what 4K streaming is and how to make sure your broadband connection can support it.

Last updated: 19 January 2021

Best Broadband for 4K Streaming
Our internet uses are changing, and with so many 4K or UHD (Ultra High Definition) streaming platforms available, you want your connection to keep up. Read on to find out how to take advantage of 4K streaming, and which broadband package can keep up with your streaming habits. 

What is 4K streaming?

If you are watching a film, television show or video online, you are streaming it. 4K streaming is currently the highest quality resolution available.

Some streaming platforms, for example NOW TV or BBC iPlayer, are not yet available in 4K. They will only stream content at Standard Definition (SD) 480p, or low-end High Definition (HD) 720p. 

You can get away without buffering with lower download speeds if you are watching lesser quality content. However, for Full HD (1080p) you will need faster broadband. 

4K or UHD is double the resolution of Full HD. This means you are getting the highest quality picture when you watch something in 4K. To accommodate this, you will need faster download speeds, but how fast does your broadband need to be?

What is the best broadband speed for 4K streaming?

Choosing the right broadband speed is important if you regularly stream content. 

More and more streaming platforms are offering 4K streaming. Services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and iTunes state you need a minimum speed of 25Mbps for 4K streaming. Other services, such as YouTube or BT Sport require more than 40Mbps. 

The speed you need will depend upon which services you are using but it is important to note these speeds are the minimum required. Simply meeting the minimum speed will not guarantee you 4K streaming all the time! Even the scene you are watching can change the download speed you need. 

When it comes to 4K streaming, the faster your broadband, the better. 

What is the best broadband deal for 4K streaming?

Not all broadband deals are suitable for 4K streaming. You want to make sure you have high download speeds to avoid buffering. If possible, look out for deals offering double the stated minimum of your streaming service

If you know you will be streaming in 4K, look out for fibre optic deals when you compare broadband. This is the best way to guarantee the highest possible speeds. 

Do I need fibre optic broadband for 4K streaming?

It is easier than ever to get fast broadband, making 4K streaming possible. 

Some ADSL connections will be fast enough for 4K streaming, but they might not be as fast as advertised. When running a broadband comparison be aware the speeds advertised as the maximum possible. With an ADSL connection, the further you live from your telephone exchange the slower it will be. 

Fibre optic is the best way to guarantee your broadband speed. Your connection shouldn’t weaken the same way it does with ADSL. Plus fibre optic broadband packages start with higher maximum speeds. The smallest fibre packages offer around 38Mbps. 

How do I find out my broadband speed?

If you are concerned your speeds are too low, use our broadband speed test find out how fast your download and upload speeds are! 

ASDL connections vary depending on how far away your local telephone exchange is. You want to watch out for this, especially in rural areas as your broadband speed could be very different from that advertised!

You fibre broadband speed should be pretty close to what is advertised. This means fibre optic is a good place to start if you are looking for the best broadband deals

What is my upload speed?

If you ever use your internet to live-stream then you want to make sure your upload speeds are up to scratch. These are not the speeds advertised, and they are usually much lower than your download speed. 

If you live-stream on Twitch, YouTube or Periscope, you will need an upload speed of at least 2.8Mbps for a higher-quality stream. Live streamers need the top-end broadband packages and fibre optic is a must. 

The quickest and easiest way to guarantee the best broadband deals for 4K streaming is to compare broadband. A quick search will show you what is available in your area. 
Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

Broadband providers