Is it better to stream on my phone or tablet?

I will be away from wifi tomorrow with lots of spare time on my hands. I may want to watch a movie or program on Netflix. I have an iPhone 6 and an AmazonFire, both armed with the Netflix app.

Here is my issue. I would prefer to watch a movie on my Fire. To do this, I will set my phone up as a wifi hotspot. My Fire will use the phone to connect to the internet and get my movie. Or, I could just watch the movie directly on the smaller iPhone screen. Which is the more efficient use of my phone data plan? Will a streamed movie use just as much data either way, or will one method use less data?

Can’t speak to the data plan implications, but certainly the use of both devices simultaneously for the duration of the movie will use more energy than just using the phone.

There isn’t going to be a noticeable difference.

If you’re on Verizon or AT&T, Netflix just recently admitted that it has capped streaming data rates at 600 kilobits/sec in order to help customers conserve their data plans. That cap doesn’t seem to apply to T-Mobile or Sprint which generally offer more generous data plans.

Either way, they don’t seem to adjust data rates on a per device basis.

Since you have a Fire, do you also have Amazon Prime Video? Some Prime Video content is available for download (in other words, it’s saved locally and not streamed) so you could load up the Fire today over wifi with what you want to watch tomorrow and not worry about any data caps. You might still need to use the iPhone as a hotspot to allow the Fire to identify itself to Amazon servers so that the videos will play, but that’s an insignificant amount of data.

edit- and I just realized you asked the question yesterday, so none of this will help you

Actually, that is what I ended up doing. In fact, wifi access isn’t required to authorize playing the videos. The only thing you have to do is acknowledge that you have 48 hours to watch the video once you have begun it. The challenge is that the Fire doesn’t have a lot of onboard storage nor does it have any way to expand it. The videos I wanted to take with me were crowding out all my other content. Still, ended up having a great time.

The latest Fire tablets finally have microSD slots, but if you have an older one, you can do what I did and get something like the HooToo TripMate Elite with any USB flash drive, and access your movie over Wi-Fi. It’s pretty much the only way to “extend” the storage on the Fire tablets that don’t have microSD slots, since they also don’t support plugging card readers or flash drives into the micro USB port. Plus the TripMate Elite doubles as a plug-in charger and a portable battery that you can charge things from. I’ve made quite a lot of use of mine.

You’re right, Kindle Fire tablets don’t have 3G/4G as standard, so you’ll need to use tethering/hotspot in order to get a data connection across.

The data speed for each device will be unaffected, since the iPhone 6 supports 4G speeds. So you’ll get the same speeds whether you use the iPhone or Fire tablet.

Streaming media services usually tend to adjust the data rate based on your data connection, rather than what resolution your screen supports (certainly from what I’ve found). You won’t use up more data on the tablet, compared to on the phone.

The only difference will be in terms of whether you have access to a charger or mains outlet - using the iPhone exclusively will drain the iPhone’s battery, whilst using the iPhone as a hotspot, and then using the tablet for streaming, will result in battery drain from both the phone and the tablet. (Tethering/hotspot does seen to drain the battery quite fast; I’m using the tethering feature on my Samsung Galaxy S4 as I write this, and although I’m plugged in, using the Samsung charger that came with the phone, the battery is still slowly draining.)