The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-17-2009, 12:38 PM
Frylock Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Good downstream speed for watching movies/tv online?

What is the lowest plausible downstream speed if I want to use my internet connection to watch movies and tv online?

My choices are 1.5 mbps, 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 12-17-2009, 12:42 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 17,535
It depends on many factors. Full-screen or smaller? Are you using generic software like Windows Media Viewer, or proprietary like Netflix?

1.5mb/sec should be fine for most cases. Netflix will downgrade the stream but keep you viewing if it can't keep up; other viewers may stop & start.

But are you sharing that pipe with other users or apps?

As a reference point, in a test I did at 256Kb/sec, I was able to (barely) watch 320 x 200DPI, 30fps video. That's a long ways from full-screen or DVD quality, though. Double each dimension and you quadruple the data, all other factors being equal. DVD is about 720 x 480 and compression varies.

Last edited by Musicat; 12-17-2009 at 12:45 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-17-2009, 01:55 PM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
For one data point, I have a pretty boring but consistent (if not reliable...) 3 mbps DSL connection from Verizon. I use it to watch shows via Netflix and a handful of network sites (NBC, Comedy Central, etc.) Netflix streaming works great, though video quality isn't perfect -- definitely less than DVD quality. Resolution is pretty good but there are sometimes noticeable compression artifacts. However, playback suffers greatly if I'm trying to download something while watching.

I can watch video on other streaming sites acceptably, though some sites will hiccup since they seem to expect a higher speed connection. Comedy Central in particular has less than stellar playback.

I'd recommend 3 mbps as a minimum starting point. It's good enough, but not amazing. I sometimes think of upgrading to the 5mbps connection, but I'm not sure it's worth the extra money...
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-17-2009, 02:23 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
1.5 mbps is the minimum non buffering speed because with the newer common movie files my connection at half that speed requires twice the time to download to buffer as it does to play. I would get the 3 mbps to watch movies as there will be some extra bandwidth.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:45 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.