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TV's Answer Man

Is My Internet Fast Enough to Watch Netflix In HD?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (January 20, 2013) -- Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to swann@tvpredictions.com

Q. I want to watch streaming videos in high-def, but I understand that my Internet speed may not be fast enough for that? What is the minimum speed requirement to watch HD video over Net and how would I know how fast my Internet service is? -- Joe, Cleveland

Joe, let's start with the last question first. You can test the speed of your Internet service by going to SpeedTest.net (you can also use this service via a SpeedTest.net app on smartphones and tablets.)

Once you are on SpeedTest.net, click on Begin Test and the site will give you a Mbps speed measurement for both downloads and uploads. The download speed is what we're looking at here because you download a movie from Netflix and other streaming services. (
See Amazon's best-selling streaming player here.)

Netflix says you need a minimum 5.0 Mbps download speed to watch a streaming video in 720p HD. (Obviously, a faster speed is even better because you are less likely to suffer disruptions in your viewing, known as buffering. A faster speed will also improve the picture quality of the stream.) If your SpeedTest.net measurement exceeds 5.0 Mbps, you should have no problem watching Netflix streaming video in high-def.

If it doesn't, don't panic yet. Try taking the SpeedTest.net measurement a handful of times. The measurement -- your Internet speed -- changes frequently due to several factors, from the number of people who are on your home network to weather conditions to you name it. If after taking the test several times, you still don't get a speed at 5.0 Mbps (or close), you probably will have some problems watching HD streaming video on Netflix.



And if that's the case, ask your Internet Service Provider what speed you are supposed to get. If your service is underperforming -- based on the SpeedTest.net measurement -- you will want to get your ISP to your home and find out what's wrong.

By the way, if you want to test your Internet speed for Vudu's streaming service, click
here.


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