Is your Broadband Plan up to the task?
It’s an important question. But first you need to know how your viewing habits impact on your data.
In a previous article, we looked at how much data each of these services used. At the bottom level, most providers need a minimum speed of 1.5mb/s. However, they usually recommend a connection of 3mb/s or better for optimal viewing. On the data front, watching in standard definition uses around 300Mb per hour. At the high end, Ultra HD streaming uses anywhere from 7-9 GB an hour.
Taking this information, we can apply it to two believable scenarios.
You watch maybe an hour or two a night. Come home from work, eat dinner and pop on your favourite show, or maybe a movie after the meal. Total usage of 14 – 20 hours a week (56 – 80 hours a month). From low data to high, that’s a range of 16.8 – 560 GB extra a month.
You like to get in a good 7 or 8 hour session across the weekend and maybe sneak in another 4 hours a day during the week for a total of 20-40 hours a week (80-160 hours a month). This results in varying monthly data usage from 24 GB to a staggering 1120 GB per month.
What you need from a Broadband Plan
This is how fast the data moves to or from your modem. Which matters a lot for streaming TV. A slow connection means you’re going to see a fair few buffering screens.
Latency is the measure of how fast your ISP responds to a request. With streaming TV, this matters when navigating and setting up viewing material. Responsiveness means you spend less time waiting on menus and more time watching your favourite shows.
Most streaming TV providers have a feature that tracks what you’re watching, and saves your spot in case there’s an interruption. This is great if you have to take a phone call mid viewing – but it also makes sure that if your connection gets interrupted, you can pick up where you left off. While this is a great feature, wouldn’t it be better to not have your connection interrupted in the first place? Yes? Then it’s safe to say that connection stability matters.
Referring to the table above, streaming TV is definitely going to add to your data usage. How much depends on the packs you subscribe to and how much you use them. At the high end this can be as much as 1120 GB per month – and this is on top of normal data usage. Your broadband deal should include enough data to let you watch your favourite shows without fear of going over your data limit. This can result in having your data connection “shaped” or limited to 256 KB/s, or finding yourself fronting up for excess usage fees.
Naturally, you don’t want your viewing habits to cost you an arm and a leg. So the price of your broadband package should be kept to a reasonable level for what you’re watching
ADSL can be a hero for streaming TV. Its asynchronous capacity means you can get quite reasonable speeds through copper wire. However, as we covered in the article on broadband plans for gamers, this benefit diminishes as you move away from the exchange.
Cable is also a great idea for speedy viewing, as the networks were originally designed for TV. However, cable is not always readily available. Besides, chances are that if you have cable, you already have a cable TV package as well. So, why do you need a streaming TV service?
The NBN is built using fibre-optic cables and represents one of the best possible chances of handling increasing data usage as time goes on. And while the NBN rollout sure is taking its time, it’s becoming more and more accessible across the country.
Depending on availability in your area, the preference for streaming TV purposes goes thusly:
1. ADSL 2. Cable 3. NBN
Our Top Five Broadband Deals For Streaming TV
As outlined above, we’re looking at fast, stable connections that feature 1000 GB or more per month. We want decent latency. And we want them at a decent price – meaning bundles are okay!
#5 Telstra Entertainment Bundle
This bundle comes with unlimited data, which will be more than enough to satisfy your streaming needs. It also includes a free Telstra TV, so you can stream content like Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Now, live sport and catch-up TV straight to your big screen – and you get two years of your choice of Foxtel Now plan at no extra cost. All these for $99/month.
#4 Dodo ADSL2+ Unlimited (Unlimited Data for $30/month)
That’s right! Dodo offers unlimited Internet for only $30 a month. This package is outstanding for the price. However, there are issues holding it back. Namely a very high installation cost unless you agree to a 24-month contract, and reports of medium latency. Then again, sometimes you really do get what you pay for.
#3 iPrimus Unlimited (Unlimited Data for $70/month)
iPrimus delivers unlimited data for under $70 a month. Set-up fees are relatively low, and you can always BYO modem to save more. The plan is simple and great for just getting on with streaming TV.
#2 Belong Broadband (Unlimited Data for $60/month)
Whether it’s downloads or non-stop streaming, you can rely on Belong to give you flexible broadband options you can choose from to take care of your streaming needs. For just $60/month, you can get your hands on unlimited NBN data right away and without any activation fees whatsoever.
#1 #soulmates Plan from MATE
For only $89 per month, you get unlimited data from MATE broadband on the NBN at the 100/60 speed tier. You’ll never experience buffering again. Not to mention the fact that you don’t have to keep an eye on your usage and that there is no contract to tie you down.