How much data do online audio and video streaming services consume

It would be good to know in advance what we can do with the data traffic at our disposal, by analyzing how much streaming services consume

Do you like to watch high-resolution videos and listen to music tracks with perfect sound quality using your new smartphone? Well, be aware that unless you use Wi-Fi, you're risking draining your data traffic well in advance.

Running out of data traffic before the end of the month (it would be better to say before the end of 4 weeks), is a big problem. You'd have to put your hands back in your wallet to buy extra traffic or (even worse) renew your internet offer before its natural expiration. Another alternative, as some people do, is to wait until the end of the month, using only your home Wi-Fi network or walking down the street in search of a public connection. Even in this case, the hassle is enormous. It would be advisable, therefore, to know in advance what we can do with the data traffic at our disposal, "investigating" how much audio and video streaming services consume.

Streaming audio

Data consumption depends, of course, on the audio quality of the streaming content. You can understand, therefore, that the lower it is, the less data traffic you consume. That said, let's try to understand, also providing numbers, how much a single song, depending on the standard, can consume.

On average, listening to a song on the Internet in low quality consumes just 0.72 MB per minute. Calculator in hand, that means 43.2 Megabytes every hour. This is because the standard requires 96kbps (kilobits per second).

If you choose normal quality instead, you should know that the standard consumes 160 kilobits per second in streaming. So, in one minute an audio content could take 1.20 MB. Megabytes that would become 72 if multiplied by 60 minutes.

And how much does the high quality consume? A lot, of course. To be precise 320 kbps, which in a minute is, on average, 2.40 MB and in an hour 144 MB.

Video streaming

Let's go to the real "usurper" of Internet traffic: the ravenous video streaming. If you love watching Netflix using your data connection, be careful. The advice is to lower the video quality.

A content with low quality (240p- 320p) will drain us about 300 MB every hour.

Increasing the standard (480p) and switching to SD (standard definition) the traffic consumption rises, reaching 700 MB every 60 minutes.

If, however, we want to watch a video in high quality the exhaustion of data traffic will depend on the standard. A 720p clip will use up 0.9 GB per hour, a 1080p one will take 1.5 GB, while a 2K video will consume 3 GB.

Let's close with the "demanding" ultra HD (UHD) quality. On average, this last standard consumes in streaming about 7.2 GB per hour.

If you use Netflix, Spotify, YouTube it is advisable, therefore, to set the video/audio quality more appropriate to your Internet offer. That is, if you don't want to run out of data traffic.