Streaming to your Smart TV – Broadband Speeds

In this blog post we are going to talk about one of the most important factors that can affect how quickly your film loads on Netflix or how fast that email moves through your outbox – your broadband speed.

Generally there are two terms used when talking about broadband speed:

  • Download speed: The speed at which information is transferred from the internet to your computer. Better download speeds mean you’ll be able to stream films and TV shows with fewer or no pauses for buffering.
  • Upload speed: The speed at which information is transferred from your computer to the internet. Upload speeds determine how quickly you can send emails, post photos on Facebook or upload videos to sites like YouTube.

Typically home broadband providers give ‘downstream’ data priority, so upload speeds are considerably slower; that’s not really an issue as most of us are more concerned with how quickly we can download stuff than how long it takes us to upload files.

What types of broadband are there?

Broadly speaking there are two types of broadband available in the UK:

  • ADSL broadband: Comes entirely through the telephone line, which isn’t that efficient. Advertised speeds are typically between ‘up to 14Mb’ and ‘up to 18Mb’, but it’s likely you’ll see less than that.
  • Fibre optic broadband: Delivered through reliable, efficient fibre optic cables. Advertised speeds are typically between ‘up to 30Mb’ and ‘up to 100Mb’, and you are more likely to receive speeds closer to the advertised ‘up to’ amounts than ADSL.

If you want faster download and upload speeds you now have more choice than ever before. If you are considering fibre optic broadband it’s important to check the coverage in your area; it’s still a relatively new technology and hasn’t yet reached every corner of the country. Check if you can here

How do I know what speed I receive now?

Want to find out what broadband speed you getting from your provider? Check out this speed tester; it’ll tell you exactly what download and upload speeds you currently get – this will help you when choosing a broadband package as you’ll know what you currently use it for and if the speeds are fast enough!

As noted by Broadband Choices, here’s another important point – and it’s a biggie. Don’t assume the speeds providers advertise are the speeds you’ll actually get. For example, if you see a package advertised as offering download speeds of ‘up to 16Mb’, there’s no guarantee you’ll get that speed.

The advertised speed is based on the speeds that at least 10% of the people with that package get, so the chances are you’ll get less. Yes, it’s confusing, yes, it’s stupid, but those are the current advertising rules, so until they change remember ‘up to’ means exactly that.

So is it worth considering fibre optic broadband?

Superfast broadband is worth considering if you:

  • Have lots of devices – Smart TV, laptops, tablets, smartphones, consoles
    • We recommend having a minimum of 4mbps to connect a Smart TV
  • Have several people at home using the web at the same time
  • Regularly download movies, music and TV shows to watch offline
  • Use film and TV streaming services such as Netflix, NOW TV or Amazon Prime
  • Watch a lot of on-demand TV on BBC iPlayer, All4 or ITV Player
  • Download and play games that require an internet connection
  • You currently have ADSL broadband, and find it just isn’t fast enough

If some of the above apply to you, you should take a look at fibre broadband packages. The faster the package and broadband speed, the easier it will be to stream or download from the internet.

If you live alone, or you just use the internet for light web browsing, social media or email, it’s worth considering a cheaper, less speedy package – you won’t need, or benefit from, speeds of 100Mb (or the bigger bill!)

Either way, do your homework and make sure you’ve considered your options before signing up to lengthy contracts. Always compare broadband deals from a few providers to find the perfect balance between speed and affordability for you.

Information gathered from Broadband Choices


Leave a Comment