How to find the best internet for your digital streaming needs

How to find the best internet for your digital streaming needs

Digital streaming has become extremely popular, with people preferring streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and Disney+ to watch their favorite shows and movies. A poor or slow internet connection can ruin a streaming session and make it impossible to enjoy your favorite content. As picture quality technology has improved, though, watching your favorite movies and shows in standard definition may not be enough. Now, you can stream content in high definition or even 4K.

The purpose of this article is to show you how the quality of your internet service can affect your ability to stream movies and shows. We’ll explain how streaming works and let you know what to look for when searching for an internet service that’s perfect for streaming.

Why internet connection is so important for digital streaming

When you download a movie, you save that movie to your hard drive, where it takes up space. When you stream videos or music, you’re downloading little bits of them at a time. The streaming platform continuously loads small fragments (a few seconds) onto your hard drive at a time until the end of the video content is reached.

However, because streaming requires your computer to be constantly downloading, it’s crucial for your internet connection to be fast and reliable enough to do the job.

What to look for regarding smooth digital streaming

To ensure that you don’t experience delays when there are tiny interruptions in your connection, streaming platforms download a few seconds beyond where you currently are in a media file. This is called buffering. But if there is too much latency, or lag time, between the server sending you information and your device receiving it, then you’ll experience delays or decreased video quality.

The speed of your internet connection can make or break your stream. In theory, your internet connection only needs a bandwidth of about 3 Mbps to stream content from services like YouTube TV and Sling in standard definition (SD). You will need higher bandwidth (around 5 Mbps) for streaming in high definition (HD), ultra HD or 4K (around 25 Mbps).

However, there are a variety of factors that can keep your connection from operating at its full potential.

  • Devices. Several devices using your connection at the same time can slow down your internet speed.
  • Wi-Fi or cord. You may also experience delays if you use a wireless internet connection (Wi-Fi) versus an ethernet cord to connect.
  • Distance. Even the actual distance from your modem or router or a streaming network’s server can slow down your internet speed.

Another thing that can slow down your internet is a data cap. If you use up all your internet data and your ISP has a hard data cap, it will limit your bandwidth for the month, making it difficult to use streaming services.

Types of internet connection: DSL, Cable or Fiber

If you have a DSL or a cable internet connection and have multiple 4K TVs and devices that use streaming (and online gaming) services simultaneously, you might need a connection speed of around 100 Mbps for everyone to get a seamless streaming experience.

But if you have a fiber-optic internet connection, you won’t need the extra speed. Fiber-optic internet connections send information through glass cables that aren’t used for any other purpose. Fiber-optic internet offers the most reliable connection. It isn’t susceptible to delays during times of high traffic.

Frontier’s mid-level internet plan offers unlimited data. We also offer lightning-fast Fiber Internet with low latency. Max speeds are wired speeds. Wi-Fi speeds may vary. See performance details here. Check the availability of Frontier’s Fiber Internet service in your area here.

How to find the best internet for your digital streaming needs

The best internet for digital streaming for your digital steaming needs will vary greatly depending on what you use the internet for and your situation. For example, if you’re fine streaming content in HD (rather than 4K) and you’re the only one who uses your connection, you might be fine with a speed of around 5 Mbps.

If you have a family of four and there are three TVs in your home that are constantly streaming Hulu shows in 4K, you might want an internet speed of around 100 Mbps or a fiber-optic connection of at least 50 Mbps.

Another factor to consider is whether you intend to stream your own content. Streaming your own content on services like YouTube and Twitch requires your connection to have high upload speeds (around 6 to 7.5 Mbps). DSL and cable internet have much slower upload speeds than download speeds, but fiber-optic internet has symmetrical speeds for both processes.

0–10 Mbps
  • Good for:
  •  Checking email
  •  Browsing websites
  •  Browsing social media
10–50 Mbps
  • Good for:
  •  Connecting multiple devices
  •  Streaming videos
  •  Online gaming for one player
50+ Mbps
  • Good for:
  •  Streaming videos in HD
  •  Online gaming for multiple users
  •  Video chatting with friends

Check availability in your area

DSL internet connections use phone landlines to send information. Cable internet uses the same network as cable TV to send information. Because DSL and cable use existing networks, they’re available almost everywhere.

Fiber-optic internet offers the best performance, but because it uses its own network, it’s not as accessible as DSL or cable. That’s why you should check the availability of different internet plans in your area. Frontier makes it easy to check the availability of our Fiber Internet plans in your location. And even if fiber-optic internet isn’t available in your area just yet, we have plenty of other options to help you get faster internet.

Some companies also offer satellite internet. As the name implies, satellite internet uses satellites in space to send information between clients and servers. It can be a great option for people who live in rural areas.

Find which of the fastest ISPs are available near you


Powered by

Assess your service plan options

Different ISPs can offer different types of internet plans for fiber-optic, DSL and cable internet. At Frontier, specifically, we have high-quality and high-speed internet plans for every type of internet user. One of our service options will be great for you, whether you’re a streamer, gamer or simply a casual internet user.

When it comes to fiber-optic internet, we have three great choices. If our fiber internet plan speed-capable range of up to 500 Mbps isn’t enough for you, our faster plan will give you a speed-capable range of up to 940 Mbps. Our fastest plan offers a speed-capable range of up to 2000 Mbps for fast and reliable streaming and video conferencing. Max speeds are wired speeds. Wi-Fi speeds may vary. See performance details here. Check the availability of Frontier's Fiber Internet service in your area here.

Data Cap with your internet service provider

When you’re choosing an ISP, there are an array of things to consider. Many providers tack on things like data caps and annual commitments to their plans.

Check Frontier Internet offers in your area

If you’re trying to get faster speeds for your home internet so that you can have a better digital streaming experience, Frontier offers multiple high-speed and fiber-optic internet options. We also make it easy to check the availability of our plans in your location. Find the best internet around for your needs and enjoy your digital streaming today.