Is binging Netflix your favourite pastime? Do you want the best quality picture from your 4K device? Do you want to avoid any nasty buffering issues? If the answer to all of these questions is a resounding ‘yes’, then you’ll need the right broadband to match.
We’ve sifted through the leading UK providers to find the best internet for streaming to get the best speeds, picture and quality. If you’d like a more holistic view, we have a buying guide to choosing the right broadband for you, which takes into account other things such as costs and the different types of internet.
What internet speeds are needed for streaming?
Whilst most basic plans from streaming companies don't require the fastest internet, Full HD content and simultaneous streaming is another story. If you've got numerous people in your household who'll be streaming in 4K every evening, fast broadband will be a necessity to ensure that there are no loading issues.
In terms of what each of the streaming providers need - Netflix recommends a minimum speed of 25Mbps for 4K content, as does Amazon Prime Video. The most demanding recommended downloading speeds comes from YouTube and some live sports broadcasts on BBC iPlayer - both of which require at least 40Mbps to streaming for select things in 4K.
We've taken a look at all the leading UK providers speeds and compared the best deals below. You can also find all the average download speeds of leading UK broadband providers in Broadband Genie's survey.
Before you sign up for any of these services, it's worth checking out which broadband providers are available in your area. You can find this out using our tool below:
What's the fastest broadband for streaming?
Average download speed: 54Mbps
Virgin's fibre-optic broadband package is very fast and reliable, and therefore a great option for streaming. 50Mbps is the best option for small households who only plan on streaming 4K on one device at one time. If this isn't enough, then the next tier up may be more suitable.
Average download speed: 108Mbps
If you share your home with a bigger family who tends to use the internet at once - and you're looking to stream in 4K on several devices simultaneously - you might want to consider opting for 100Mbps. Virgin do bundles with this option if you opt in for the landline package - see more on the website. You can also get even faster speeds (from 362Mbps all the way up to 500Mbps), but this is probably overkill.
Best alternatives to Virgin
If Virgin's packages are a little too pricey - or just not right for you - then there are other decent fibre options that you can consider.
Vodafone's unlimited fibre broadband is a good price if you're happy to look at an 18 month contract. 35Mbps is enough to cover the major streaming service requirements, and existing Vodafone customers get two pounds off per month.
EE has some big savings for broadband, and even more savings for existing EE mobile customers if they switch to their broadband service. This mid-range fibre option would cover all your streaming needs, and there are cheaper packages should you not need the higher speeds.
Streaming service bundles
Whilst speeds are important, you may be searching for an internet bundle that also saves you money on a streaming subscription. Here's some good options that are on the market right now.
Starting from £18 per month, Now TV's broadband bundle includes a three month Entertainment Pass, which is usually worth £8.99 per month. Though this is quite a good price, it’s worth keeping in mind that Now TV doesn’t offer programmes automatically in Full HD. For that, you’ll need an additional pass with Now TV Boost, which costs an extra £3 per month.
Existing BT customers can also apply for the TV classic bundle, which includes Amazon Prime Video for six months, along with the BT TV channels. This plan starts from £15 per month, but this is on top of an existing BT internet contract, so it’s not the cheapest option around.