What size is the average movie download in gb?
February 1, 2011 3:32 PM   Subscribe

Netflix streaming movies - What kind of load should I expect on my service (in gb) for an average movie? I have Comcast and have a pretty healthy limit, but I don't want to start pushing it.
posted by lampshade to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A discussion about this very topic here pegs it at about 1 GB/hour, which sounds about right for "HD" content.
posted by disillusioned at 3:35 PM on February 1, 2011

Response by poster: Wow...well, I shouldn't be surprised. It is a lot of data coming through the wires.
posted by lampshade at 3:39 PM on February 1, 2011

Best answer: In a recent AskMe question, bitdamaged estimated the high end might be up to 1.7GB per hour, and the thread disillusioned linked to cited a movie that was 3.1gb for 1 hr 42 min, or roughly 1.8 gb per hour.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:46 PM on February 1, 2011

1 or 1.5 gb per hour for HD is also consistent with iTunes downloads I've done. The non-HD stuff I've downloaded has been more like half a gb.
posted by Sara C. at 4:11 PM on February 1, 2011

Netflix said recently their HD is 4800 Kbps, which is 600 kilobytes per second, or 2.06 gigabytes (GB) per hour.

Assuming you get the max stream, that is. But if you're maxing out quality, 2GB/hr seems like a pretty good estimate.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:21 PM on February 1, 2011

BTW, that makes it about the same as YouTube 1080p (which is around 4096 Kbps). Not sure about Hulu/Vimeo/etc.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:23 PM on February 1, 2011

Response by poster: be careful, too many downloads and comcrap will cut you off.

That is one of the reasons that I am asking, actually. Comcast and Netflix have also been at each others' throats as of late and I don't want to get caught up in that.

I think I will stick with my mailed dvds for now.
posted by lampshade at 5:17 PM on February 1, 2011

I have comcast, and I believe there's a 250gb/month cap. You should be able to check your usage by logging into your account at comcast.net and clicking on users and settings near the top
posted by chndrcks at 5:30 PM on February 1, 2011

Not an answer to your specific question, but relevant to your concern -- FWIW, Comcast's soft-cap is 250GB, so you do have a good number of movies you can stream (depending on what else you're doing, of course).
posted by inigo2 at 5:34 PM on February 1, 2011

If you have multiple computers using the same Comcast account though, it can be really tricky estimating usage, especially if one of the users is a gamer or torrents. I try to use Speed Download for everything I download online so I always have a ballpark idea of how many GBs I've consumed. Speed Download let's you know how much you've used per day, per week, and per month; after that you can factor in the rest of your household's usage. I don't think it would be of much help with Netflix since you're streaming, but at least you can track your upload and download usage on other sites, then factor in about 2GB per hour if you stream via Netflix.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:12 PM on February 1, 2011

If you're concerned, the best way to monitor your bandwidth usage is to install a custom firmware on your router. DDWRT and Tomato both allow you to monitor the total traffic in and out of your router.
posted by schmod at 9:00 PM on February 1, 2011

If you log into Comcast's website, they will show you your current and historical bandwidth usage, and how it compares to the monthly cap. Even when I was watching a ton of Netflixed Angel I never hit more than 10% of it. But I have the lowest-end Comcast plan where I max out at 175KB/s or so. The responses above are assuming you have at least 600KB/s sustained bandwidth which may not be the case. (Comcast's website seems to advertise burst bandwidth numbers only, which is confusing.)

But in any case, paying attention to your metered usage on your account page should be sufficient.
posted by serathen at 7:26 AM on February 2, 2011

Best answer: Yep, you can check your usage at Comcast's website. Over about 2 weeks in December I watched 2 seasons of Lie to Me (35 episodes, about 45 min each) on Netflix watch instantly, and my husband was playing online games on the Xbox the whole time. My usage for the entire month of Dec was 31GB.
posted by ilona at 8:39 AM on February 2, 2011

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