Skip to main content

Netflix speed test: how to check if you can stream 4K Ultra HD

Nothing puts a damper on a nice Netflix movie- or show-watching session more than a cruddy, blurry image, especially when you’re paying that extra cash for the Premium Netflix plan with that sweet 4K UHD resolution. But just like gas is to a fast car, your internet connection is the fuel that powers your Netflix, and it will stream faster with premium gas in the tank (sorry for the metaphor, we’ve been watching a lot of Formula 1: Drive to Survive)

So, if you’re trying to stream something and it isn’t quite the high-definition or 4K Ultra HD resolution you were expecting, it could be your internet connection that’s to blame.

Don’t just take our word for it, though. There’s a simple experiment in the form of a broadband speed test that any internet user can carry out to see whether their connection is at fault. If it is, chances are it’s because you’re trying to watch something during peak hours when everyone in your neighborhood is firing up their preferred streaming service. Here’s how to see if your internet is up to snuff to help you avoid Netflix streaming woes.

The Netgear Nighthawk AXE11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E Router on a table.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The lowdown on Netflix streaming speed

Before we run through the steps required to execute a Netflix speed test, we first need to touch on the sort of results you can expect to see. In a nutshell, the average fixed broadband download speed in the U.S. as of June 2023 is 202.40 Mbps, according to Ookla — more than double the global average. That’s more than enough pull to stream four 4K Ultra HD shows at once over the same Wi-Fi network, with each requiring around 15Mbps to run smoothly.

Here are the download speeds Netflix recommends (again, for one stream), starting with the minimum download speed.

  • HD (720p) — 3 Mbps or higher
  • Full HD (1080p) — 5Mbps of higher
  • 4K Ultra HD (4K) — 15Mbps or higher

How to test your Netflix speed

After discovering how much broadband speed you need to smoothly stream Netflix’s movies and shows, you want to make sure your network speed is up to par. To do this, navigate to, which is Netflix’s speed test tool, on your mobile or desktop device. After the page loads, it will check your device and Wi-Fi and compute how fast Netflix runs on your computer. It only takes a few seconds for the results of the speed test to show up on your screen. If it’s a few Mbps (no more than 10) less than what you’re paying for, there’s no immediate cause for concern — the speed fluctuates frequently. speed test screen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Make sure you know your internet speed because if shows that your browser or Netflix app is streaming more than 10Mbps slower than your advertised speed, something’s wrong. A decrease like that in your speed will affect how your shows stream. Fortunately, we have an in-depth look at everything you can do to get Netflix back to serving up piping-hot bowls of 4K Ultra HD content in no time. If you’re streaming during high-traffic times, then it’s only natural that you’ll get a slower speed. If your stream is constantly rebuffering or pausing, you’ll need to call your internet service provider and report the problem.

Editors' Recommendations

Derek Malcolm
Derek Malcolm is a Toronto-based technology journalist, editor, and content specialist whose work has appeared in…
The best projectors for 2023: from 4K to ultra short throw
The MoGo 2 Pro projector with the lamp shining from the land.

Bringing a projector into your home theater setup is one of the best ways to step things up as close to the movie theater experience as possible. The technology might seem daunting if you're new to home theater projectors, but today's models are easier to set up and use than ever, can be connected to soundbars and other sound systems with ease, and can be ready to start projecting with only a few short steps.

Capable of throwing images from around 100 to 200 inches in size on a wall or a projector screen, and able to be connected to everything from streaming devices,
and game consoles to laptops, smartphones, and more, modern options range from cinema grade 4K laser projector to ultra-rugged and impossibly compact projectors that you can take anywhere, from camping trips to a weekend at the cottage.

Read more
The hidden costs of buying a 4K TV are way higher than you think
Toshiba 55-inch-class C350 series 4K smart Fire TV on a gray shelf and light gray background.

There’s never been a better time to buy a 4K TV. Prices have continued to drop even as screen sizes and smart TV features have continued to grow. But now that 4K TVs are priced within reach of almost anyone who wants one, are you actually going to be able to enjoy all of the extra detail and picture quality that 4K promises? The answer is, sadly, not as often as you expect, and not without some considerable extra investment over and above the cost of the TV.

Modern 4K TVs are packed with a lot of impressive technologies that can make picture quality look amazing, no matter what you’re watching. With upscaling driven by complex algorithms and often aided by AI, even watching an old DVD on a 4K TV will look way better than it did on an HDTV from 10 years ago. But to truly get the best possible results, you need access to native 4K content, preferably with some flavor of HDR, like Dolby Vision, HDR10, or HDR10+.

Read more
Should you install beta updates for Apple TV 4K?
Apple TV beta software options as seen on a TV.

This is sort of one of those things that you see pop up from time to time whenever Apple unleashes an onslaught of new beta software. And it's worth discussing. Should you, proud owner of an Apple TV (or the newer Apple TV 4K, which is still our pick for the best streaming hardware you can buy), simply sit back and let production-level tvOS updates hit your box as Steve Jobs intended? Or should you live on the edge and take your chances with beta updates?

It's a fair question. I'm a sucker for updates. But there's a little bit to think about here.
What is a beta update?
For us mere mortals (as in someone who doesn't work at Apple), there are three software tracks from which you can choose on Apple TV. There's the regular software that everybody gets, which we'll call "Production." Because that's what it is. There are two types of betas. There's "Developer," and there's "Public."

Read more